August 28, 2004

‘A Place To Shop And Enjoy The Atmosphere’

That's not what you get with a row of strip malls and big box retailers. It is what you get when you create a commercial district with a sense of place -- including a pleasant streetscape and pedestrian environment. (If you haven't yet, please do take a look at this Urban Advantage presentation, which shows exactly what a nicer streetscape can do for a business district).

The city of Holladay, Utah, is working on an ordinance designed to create a more walkable commercial center. "A little more homey, not big-boxey," community development director and architect Ken Millard told the Salt Lake City Tribune. "We want activity on the streets again."

The article explains:
As it stands, the area is a hodgepodge of aging storefronts, a spiffy strip mall adjacent to City Hall and the state's oldest pharmacy.

But crumbling asphalt, a dearth of sidewalks and the "dangerous" five-pointed intersection create what some in the city call "an embarrassment."

The ordinance - tweaked often since the spring - outlines size restrictions, how far a building can be set back from the street, aesthetics and landscaping standards.

"It tries to create a village instead of having walls that are 50 feet high," says City Manager Randy Fitts. "We want to make this a place to shop and enjoy the atmosphere."

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