Why do you prefer to shop and eat at certain places more than others? Why do people in one neighborhood seem to all know each other while people in another neighborhood keep to themselves? Why will you walk down main street, but drive from one end of the strip mall to the other to frequent different stores? The design of place plays a major factor. It affects your experience, your behavior, the value of the place, and of course the environment.
Below is a comparison of two retail centers designed very differently. Both retail centers are located near each other in Atlantic Beach, Florida and contain popular locally owned and national neighborhood retail shops and restaurants. The first example, the Atlantic Beach Town Center, has a pedestrian friendly design that encourages people to walk to and within the retail center, a fundamental element of sustainable design. The second retail center is designed solely for customers to arrive by automobile, a common design flaw of unsustainable developments.
Atlantic Beach Town Center Design Elements:
Atlantic Beach Strip Mall Design Elements:
Are there any other design differences you can find between the developments? Look for future postings of “The Design of Place” with comparison pictures for different types of developments.