Our team worked closely together with residents to formulate three overarching ideas to provide a vision for the site for design, coding and then implementation. Using our place-proven new urbanist design principles and public-oriented charrette processes to ground-truth these general principles, we believe this three ideas capture the big idea vision for the site.
- Create a Mixed-Use Village Center on the 100% corner of East Street and East Gibson Road. The village center is not intended as another ‘Main Street’ in competition with downtown, but an urban center of four neighborhoods that create a place anchored by a core and defined edges.
- For building more attainable and affordable housing in the city, purposely zone to allow “as-of-right”, ‘Missing Middle’ housing. A uniquely New Urbanist idea, the ‘Missing Middle’ includes historically identifiable building types and lots often prohibited by conventional zoning standards.
- Use a Form-Based Code (FBC) to easily plan and build a complete, compact, and connected village center to the level of expectation found throughout the city. The mall site presents a unique opportunity to build in Woodland’s original character and pattern. The FBC offers the flexibility to make a place where residents can live, work, and play while protecting adjacent property values and providing the development industry with more predictable entitlement and permitting processes.
These three big ideas will address redevelopment of blighted suburban conditions without reliance on discontinued tax increment financing or eminent domain redevelopment tools. With malls closing across the country, we see this project as creating the tools for Redevelopment 2.0. Form-Based Coding is a place-based tool that makes it easier to entitle by-right and without Specific Plans, rezoning, or other discretionary, expensive and lengthy public reviews. Our recommendations to plan, process, and program a new development pattern will be easily recognizable to local residents.
Woodland’s General Plan Land Use Element states: “The goals and policies of this General Plan promote infill development and compact, sustainable growth. Compared to greenfield development, infill is generally perceived to be more difficult because of concerns raised by existing neighbors, concerns about compatibility with existing land uses, and regulations that may be more oriented to greenfield growth than infill situations.”
“This often means that infill growth is more expensive and less certain for the developer. Conversely however, infill growth typically allows current land use patterns to become more efficient, provides for maximum use of existing infrastructure investments, and is generally less expensive for ongoing public sector operations and maintenance. Infill also generally brings in more tax revenue for the City because the land is usually is subject to less-onerous revenue sharing with the County”. Our plan will be consistent with these the consecutive-day charrette is designed to compress time and conserve energy while providing three distinct, informational feedback loops. Public pin-ups and critiques were held daily to brainstorm the best ideas from the collective mind of many professionals with differing expertise. Our team considered a variety of design options with local citizens contributing ideas and feedback on designs to arrive at our best solutions. To the right and below are examples of plans presented and used to create the preferred plan.
Preferred themes: short, walkable blocks; retain a part of the mall building; transform the enclosed mall into an open-air plaza or paseo connecting north-to-south; and locate housing predominately on the south end with mixed-use commercial on the East Gibson Road and East Street corner.