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Canadian mall owners experiment with building urban villages on their parking lots

March 1st, 2011 · 43 Comments

Some are blowing up their malls entirely. Others are putting towers in the parking lots while reconfiguring the shopping-centre part. Either way, mall owners are planning some dramatic changes to what are seen as those flag-bearers of bad suburbanism: malls.

I got inspired to write this story by the visit last fall of Ellen Dunham-Jones, who came up here from Atlanta to talk about the ways that American suburbs in general are being revamped. One of the places she visited was Richmond, the mall capital of the Lower Mainland, which is enthusiastically pursuing a campaign to encourage its mall owners to redevelop.

Someday, just imagine, No. 3 Road might be lined — not with football fields of parking — but stores right next to the sidewalks surrounded by townhouses and apartment buildings.

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