By: Brittany Stares, Managing Editor, Curb Magazine
Suburban land use poses unique challenges for planners, developers and residents; particularly in those communities that are well-established and have limited space upon which to draw. The sprawl, segregation and dependence on the private automobile that often characterizes the suburbs undermine broader pushes for community-building and sustainability.
The winter issue of Curb Magazine, entitled “Suburban Land Use: Strip Malls and Parking Lots,” explores this topic, with a particular focus on better utilizing space in the suburbs through the re-imagining, retrofitting or redevelopment of existing, outdated sites. Using under-performing strip malls and their associated parking lots as the basis for innovative planning, featured articles highlight the potential – and pathways – for these unloved spaces to reduce sprawl, encourage alternative means of transportation, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate economic, cultural and recreational activity. Contributors include winning and shortlisted entrants from the international ideas competition, “Strip Appeal: Reinventing the Strip Mall” and renowned architect/author, Ellen Dunham-Jones.
Curb Magazine is published by the City-Region Studies Centre (CRSC) at the University of Alberta, and focuses on policy practice and community experience in cities, regions and rural areas. Curb is distributed to municipal offices and planning departments across Canada and the northwestern United States. The CRSC aims to inform public policy by increasing understanding of cultural, political and economic interactions and inter-dependencies within social spaces. It is one of the only centres in North America focusing on regional as well as municipal research.
Curb 3.2, “Suburban Land Use: Strip Malls and Parking Lots,” is available now through the CRSC website (http://www.crsc.ualberta.ca/). This issue has been generously sponsored by the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, along with our following issue on stewardship and sustainability in planning.