The Daily Feed, The District

Retrofitting Strip Malls on the Kojo Nnamdi Show

Photo courtesy of
‘Tivoli Square Streetscape’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

For every active, vibrant public space in DC, there’s another lifeless, auto-oriented public space right down the street.   Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown is an urban designer’s dream, while a few miles north on Wisconsin Avenue there are parking lots and gas stations lining the streets.  New York Avenue north of Chinatown is a developing hub, while New York Avenue on the eastern edge of the city is a car-oriented paradise of fast food and motels.  The reason is simple: the closer-in areas developed when walking or streetcars were the primary mode of transportation (so everything is close to the street, compact, and walkable), while the outer areas developed in the car era (with plenty of room for parking and a focus on convenience).  Now we know that, for the most part, strip malls don’t provide the public space and active streets that we urban planners love. Continue reading