Monday, September 14, 2009

"Memphis takes first step in retrofitting shopping areas"

Raleigh Springs Mall has lost four anchor stores since Wolfchase Galleria opened in 1997, but the mall has redevelopment options. By Dave Darnell / The Commercial Appeal 

By Tom Bailey, Memphis Commercial Appeal

"Abandoned strip centers, malls can be reborn, says architecture professor Ellen Dunham-Jones"

Architecture professor Ellen Dunham-Jones comes to Memphis this week to speak on a topic she tackled in her new book, "Retrofitting Suburbia."

It includes 80 or so examples of communities nationwide turning dead malls, underperforming strip centers and pedestrian-repellant streets into more vibrant, walkable, livable and sustainable places.

None of the book's examples, however, come from Memphis suburbs.

"But we didn't have the most sophisticated" search of projects, said Dunham-Jones, who speaks at 6:15 p.m. Thursday at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

Her appearance is among the Architecture Month events organized by AIA (American Institute of Architects) Memphis.

With no major database to tap into, the authors searched newspaper articles and contacted architects and developers looking for projects in which old suburban structures and infrastructure had been redeveloped in a new urbanism way.

There may not have been much retrofitting to find among Memphis suburbs, anyway.

Charles "Chooch" Pickard, executive director of the Memphis Regional Design Center, is unaware of any Memphis-area examples.

"I think bringing in Ellen Dunham-Jones is a great first step," he said. …

"Memphis takes first step in retrofitting shopping areas" via Dead Malls

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