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Warning: Table './archive_cnu/watchdog' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: INSERT INTO watchdog (uid, type, message, variables, severity, link, location, referer, hostname, timestamp) VALUES (0, 'php', '%message in %file on line %line.', 'a:4:{s:6:\"%error\";s:14:\"strict warning\";s:8:\"%message\";s:62:\"Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically\";s:5:\"%file\";s:100:\"/var/www/archive.cnu.org/htdocs/sites/cnu.civicactions.net/modules/contrib-stable/views/views.module\";s:5:\"%line\";i:906;}', 3, '', 'http://archive.cnu.org/randhurst', '', '44.223.39.67', 1716006248) in /var/www/archive.cnu.org/htdocs/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 135
Retrofitting in Real Time: Randhurst Mall Looks Towards a New Tomorrow | Congress for the New Urbanism

Retrofitting in Real Time: Randhurst Mall Looks Towards a New Tomorrow

Randhurst Mall, the mid-century, tomorrow's-future-today design of modernist architect Victor Gruen, is undergoing a sea-change in its life. The  Mt. Prospect, Illinois mall is the subject of an in-depth New York Times article that shines a light on the increasing re-purposing of Randhurst's form into a more interactive, lively, and human-scaled center. While Gruen intended the shopping mall to become the focal point of community, having retail act as sort of a connective social tissue, the monolithic structure of Randhurst allowed it to become easily replaceable (as the NYT points out when competition from the even larger Woodfield Mall appeared), and proved enough reason for its steady decline down to just a handful of stores by the early 2000s.


Recognizing "good real estate that has the wrong real estate product," Casto Lifestyle Properties of Sarasota, FL, has stepped in to remake Randhurst and redevelop the property in a more holistic fashion that provides for a uniqueness of place. The $190 million makeover of Randhurst will result in a mixed-use construction of shops, movie theaters, and hotels located around open-air streets and a town-like design. The resulting Randhurst will fill the role Gruen intended for it as hub of concentrated commercial activity, but will be positioned to emerge securely as a center on its own, and not one so easily replicated or replaced. 


This is in response to demographic changes in suburbia that have reconfigured the demand for such places,  and speaks to a shift in social desires to combine shopping as a leisure activity with outdoor and family-oriented time both parents and children can participate in. Like the re-purposing of the mall itself, this social dynamic is a change from where consumption was the only unifying feature of the mall experience. As Ellen Dunham-Jones, CNU Board Member and author of Retrofitting Suburbia, states in the NYT article, “To the degree that shopping is perceived as a leisure activity, both groups [parents and children] like to tie that in with outdoor time.” 



To see even more principles of Sprawl Retrofit, and how to apply them on a practical level, see the below presentation "Sprawl Retrofit at the Micro Scale: Repairing in All Dimensions" from CNU 19, featuring Ellen Dunham-Jones, R. John Anderson, Mike Lydon and Anthony Flint. Join CNU now and stay tuned for details on how to access more presentations from CNU 19.

 

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