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Commercial Strip Redevelopment

America can boast some the world's finest urban cities and towns, created from the 18th to early 20th centuries. Yet following WWII numerous forces acted in concert that resulted in auto-dominated suburban expansions around nearly every town and city American.

Commercial strips, complete with their shopping centers, malls and power centers, are present throughout suburban America, and in many cases they have even gutted the centers of towns and cities.

We create redevelopment strategies and plans for commercial strips, using a matrix of actions including transportation reform, transit networking, and mixed-use redevelopment. While commercial strips, office parks and suburban cul de sac subdivisions are socially, economically, and physically very different places from traditional urban neighborhoods, we employ similar principles to restoring and revitalizing traditional town centers.

Reforming commercial strips begins with making places walkable and diverse. Dysfunctional transportation networks usually make walking difficult in not impossible. Segregated land-use codes make places that lack diversity and vibrancy. Establishing a critical mass of redevelopment, either along a primary street or within a large redevelopment such as a defunct shopping center or office park, catalyzes broader infill, and community building.

At a regional scale transit networks can establish a system of centers and corridors as the skeleton of a broader transformation of a suburban context into a more functional urban setting.

This Service in Practice:

The Pleasant Hill BART redevelopment was bordered by Treat Boulevard, which we transformed by placing mixed-use shop front buildings up to with on-street parking.