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design concept collage of mixed use development with kids playing soccer in a yard, a playground set, and a lit up building to the left

Can Underused Malls Help Build Healthy Communities?

In communities across the country, once-thriving shopping malls now stand vacant, their enormous parking lots devoid of activity other than the occasional graffiti. But what to do with these relics of the suburban retail boom? The question is becoming more urgent as the number of vacant or nearly vacant malls across the country continues to grow.

Exterior view of a section the Triumph with window covered facade illuminated at night with interior rooms visible

The Triumph in Washington D.C. by DLR Group. Photo by Kevin G Reeves.

Through an internal design competition, we explored how context, history, and stakeholder priorities could lead to more values-driven and impactful design solutions for these vacant malls. We selected an underutilized and much-publicized big-box site that has experienced economic, social, and environmental challenges: Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in South Los Angeles.

What we found can help reshape communities and provide holistic solutions. Read the story in Metropolis magazine. 


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