merle, November 12, 2011

Strip Appeal in the National Post

Strip Appeal was the topic of a full page spread (A8) in Canada’s National Post today:

With Photos:

Without photos:

The article, by Tristin Hopper discusses the history and relevance of the Strip Mall:

“The first time cultural geographer Merle Patchett saw Edmonton’s sprawl from the airplane, she felt the culture shock shared by so many European immigrants to the Prairie city.

The place was built for the automobile: Endlessly sprawling suburbs, winding highways and, above all, strip malls.

This month, Ms. Patchett, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, and the University of Alberta’s City Region Studies Centre have launched Strip Appeal. It’s a contest calling on designers, architects – anyone really – to retrofit the much-maligned strip mall for the future.

“It’s just a rectangular box surrounded by a sea of empty space,” Ms. Patchett said. “It’s a really easy building to redesign.” …

… The trick now is to figure out how Canada can destroy its strip malls while saving their cultural “genetics,” wrote Michael von Hausen, a Vancouver-based community planning consultant, in an email to the Post. Canadians must figure out how they can destroy their strip malls without destroying the small businesses and cultural hubs within them.

It is, he believes, “a noble and difficult task.”

merle, November 5, 2011

Strip Appeal Front Page News

News about the competition recently made the front page of the Edmonton Journal where they covered a submission to the competition by Industrial design student Larry Kwok and collaborator Jim Morrow who have come with an inventive model to diversify the current retail model for strip malls by recycling shipping containers:

Click here for the full story. 

merle, October 25, 2011

New York City Planner Offers Tips on How Edmonton Can Redesign its Strip Malls

The Edmonton Journal, in the video above, catches Project for Public Spaces (PPS’s) Cynthia Nikitin in action, doing a tough critique of an Edmonton strip mall.

On a scale of one to 10, Nikitin gave the Lendrum strip mall a six; high scores for local businesses showing pride in what they do, but low scores for the absentee landlord who hasn’t co-ordinated simple improvements to make the place attractive and physically connected to the neighbourhood.

Don’t miss the part where she asks a somewhat bemused pizza shop owner if he would consider creating an outdoor seating area to replace the benches near his storefront — because, as she so correctly points out, “It’s just hard to eat pizza on your lap.”

Nikitin offers the following suggestions for improving Lendrum:

• Take down the fences and draw in foot traffic from the townhouses around by making sure the back side is clean, painted not full of scattered Dumpsters.

• Widen the walkway in front of the stores to give space for patios, outdoor displays and perhaps a “Lendrum day” when the stores turn themselves “inside out.”

• Limit ugly neon road signs and use a unified colour scheme for the banners and awnings, perhaps extending the striped Sunterra awnings right down the row. That’s more eye-catching for a car travelling 60 km/h than a series of cheap signs.

For the full article click here.