path for a sustainable future

Regional Shopping

Regional Shopping represents areas of nearly uniform commercial retail development generally built within the last 50 years. These areas play an important role in today’s society, providing accessible, centrally-located retail for the region.  Almost exclusively located along highways or arterials, Regional Shopping areas are primarily oriented towards the automobile.

Regional Shopping areas include Route 31 in Clay, Route 11 in Cicero, Route 57, Route 5 in Camillus, and Erie Boulevard.


Regional Shopping areas are typically uniform in density and form throughout the County, and in most instances are undifferentiated from similar areas across the country due to the use of franchise architecture.  These areas include malls and strip-malls, big-box retail, and intensive suburban retail corridors. Regional Shopping areas have very high traffic volumes requiring considerable amounts of parking, as well as significant roadway and traffic management infrastructure.  Most buildings in Regional Shopping areas are single story and designed for a single use based on tenant specifications.  As such, these areas are typically not integrated into the surrounding neighborhoods and, often times, not directly connected to surrounding commercial development.


While relatively successful over the past 50 years, the growing trend towards urban living, the increasing cost of gasoline, an aging population, a saturated and changing retail market and the sheer cost of serving and maintaining this type of land use is changing how we think about the future of these places.  When possible, communities can aim to retrofit their Regional Shopping areas into town centers and nodes for development. The successful integration of pedestrian-focused amenities, engaging public spaces and residential uses into failing or underutilized malls and retail pads is an example of how to transform these areas into successful places in our communities for the next 50 years.

Sample Strategies

  • Require enhanced pedestrian accommodations between parking areas, adjacent lots, building entrances and circulation spaces.
  • Require buildings and sites to be designed to facilitate conversion to a non-retail use in the future.
  • Increase the use of vernacular architectural forms, mixed-uses, native landscaping and pedestrian-focused spaces and discourage or prohibit monoculture buildings or franchise architecture.
  • Investigate opportunities for integrating residential and office uses in existing malls.