Sustainability comes to the mall : rethinking the Eastwood Towne Center
The plans for a shopping mall under construction on a 192-acre site in Lansing Township, Ingham County, Michigan, United States were used as the basis of a design exploration into ways for improving the environmental and social sustainability of conventional malls. The exploration focused on four themes, specifically: Native plant materials; stormwater management^experiential qualities; and biodiversity. Literature on the use of these four themes to achieve sustainability goals was reviewed,
... ls was reviewed, and design precedents and projects that employed native plant materials, stormwater management, place experiential qualities, and biodiversity to improve environmental and social sustainability were examined. The literature on plant species native to the Ingham County area was researched to determine which species are suitable as landscape plant materials for shopping mall environments. A variety of interventions were proposed for managing stormwater runoff on the site, with an emphasis on soil infiltration as a management technique. Interventions were proposed to provide a pleasurable and comfortable experience for mall visitors, most notably summer shade for people and parked cars, ease of navigation and movement through the site for pedestrians and vehicles, and aesthetically pleasing plantings and architecture. Planted areas were designed to provide food and cover for wildlife common in the Ingham County area. The layout of the buildings and parking lots was designed to facilitate the future transformation of the shopping mall into a residential neighborhood, as a means of recycling developed land and limiting urban sprawl. Many of the interventions proposed were designed with the intention of revealing natural processes operating in the landscape, in the manner of the Eco-Revelatory design movement. This exploration demonstrated that it is possible to redesign a conventional shopping mall to make it a greater social asset to the community and less of an environmental liability.