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May Avenue

With a shift in retail from in person shopping to online purchasing, America has a glut of slowly dying retail centers.   Many of these centers are nestled against vibrant neighborhoods and have abundant space created by a surplus of parking.  At the same time America is facing a housing crisis.   The option to expand further out at the city perimeter has both negative long term financial and ecological consequences.   In many cases these new suburbs are built to decay with no long-term tax base to support repairs to critical infrastructure. 

Recapturing these retail centers and turning them into mini urban neighborhoods presents many fascinating opportunities.  The reuse of existing structures has significant ecological benefit by decreasing material use.  Many of the buildings have great character and an authenticity that new construction can not replicate.

The project presented above is on North May Avenue in Oklahoma City.   Originally designed along a two lane road not far from Route 66, the center was geared to the automobile.  We have redesigned the center with people in mind, but still acknowledge the importance of cars in these transitional areas.

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