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Title: Community context and strip mall retail: public response to the roadside landscape

Author: Wolf, Kathleen.;

Date: 2008

Source: Transportation Research Record. Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 2060: 95-103.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)


Strip malls (or mini-malls) are a common land use, historically promoted by U.S. zoning practices that concentrate retail and commercial development in a narrow band along urban arterials and major streets. They are an entry-level retail niche offering opportunity for independent, start-up businesses that serve a limited market. Communities have begun to question land uses that enable efficient ingress and egress of vehicles in retail and commercial districts but give little attention to multimodal motility. Some communities are redeveloping small mall zones on the basis of “complete street” principles, expanding landscape plantings, and redeveloping the character of a business district. This study assessed public response to one element of small mall (re development: landscape and vegetation. Prior studies indicated that consumer behavior is positively associated with city trees (urban forest) on multiple cognitive and behavioral dimensions. In mail surveys depicting varied roadside treatments, residents of three major cities in the Pacific Northwest were asked to indicate preferences and perceptions about proposed changes. Survey stimulus materials addressed visual quality, retail perceptions, patronage behavior, wayfinding, and willingness to pay for goods and services. Combined econometrics and psychometrics indicated that respondents prefer landscaped roadsides and report positive retail behavior, such as willingness to pay 8.8% more for goods and services in well-landscaped malls. Redevelopment and roadside management guidelines are proposed based on the research results, with implications for the economics of local communities.

Keywords: urban forestry, retail, public, community.

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Wolf, Kathleen L. 2008. Community context and strip mall retail: public response to the roadside landscape. Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 2060: 95-103.


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