Retrofitting greyfields : strategies and placemaking for suburban retail
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One of the defining features on 20th century American cityscapes is the rise and subsequent fall of auto-oriented suburban retail centers. The indoor mall and suburban strip center were once ubiquitous facets of suburban life, but in many places their lifespan and popularity have reached an end and are now referred to as “greyfields.” The purpose of this report will seek to document and explain the rise, fall and ultimate methods of regeneration of suburban, auto-oriented retail centers. This report will examine two case studies, Mizner Plaza (Boca Raton, FL) and Washingtonian Center (Gaithersburg, MD), to demonstrate the larger narrative of suburban shopping center redevelopment approaches. This report will need to articulate the birth, life cycle, and decline of the suburban, auto-oriented retail center using established shopping center and greyfield literature. The report will be comprised of three parts with the first outlining the characteristics, challenges and indicators of failing “greyfield” retail centers. The second part of this report will explore three types of greyfield redevelopment strategies (as anticipated through findings): a. New placemaking (the lifestyle, town center approach). b. New development improvements. c. An adaptive reuse of existing facilities. Thirdly, considering these three types of strategies, suggestions for redevelopment will be recommended for the Gateway shopping center, a declining “big box” power center in Austin, Texas.