Despite the current fashion for lifestyle centers that mimic the Main Street environment of small towns, the suburban centers of the future will not necessarily resemble the downtowns of the past. The Surrey Central City project in suburban Vancouver is an example of how out-of-the-box thinking–and a public-private partnership–can produce an innovative solution to a complicated problem. The project combines a 680,000 square-foot shopping mall with one million square feet of new development containing a university campus, and a twenty-five-story commercial office building. This paper discusses the complicated negotiations that produced this unique mix of uses, and the design strategies that have produced the nucleus of a successful town center.
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