“Urban designer Peter Calthorpe has a plan for the shuttered and financially troubled strip malls that dot the suburban landscape: Convert the malls into housing that would be part of green communities where people could be closer to their jobs and get out of their cars.” As Jacques Leslie writes for Yale Environment 360, Calthorpe, in an interview, points out that “The idea of subdivisions for all was based on nuclear families, but now they represent just 24 percent of households in America. So we’re ready on many, many levels for more urban living — urban in the best, not the worst, sense.”
According to Calthorpe, “We’ve overbuilt single-family homes, and we need more multi-family housing. It turns out, especially now, after COVID, that strip commercial land is completely underutilized.”
Calthorpe says that “If the strip commercial land in just the Bay Area and Los Angeles County were 100 percent redeveloped, that could provide 2.6 million units”—more than the estimated 2.5 million units California needs to eliminate its housing shortage.