I have an idea for the Medley Centre. I present: Malltown, USA!
The derelict building should become public property, in which human beings can live and work just as they do everywhere else. It’s just that this part of town is enclosed and climate-controlled. Indoor parking is reserved for residents — you could convert one of the more central large parcels into a parking garage. Normal mall traffic parks outside as usual.
And there could be regular mall traffic, oh yes, as long as rent is controlled and you’re not going too upscale for the community (either indoors or out). Which local businesses might make a good fit? Consider zoning certain corridors such that one level is residential and the other is commercial; offer combination packages with discreet staircases between the floors. Or do it by wing: you live in this wing, you work in that one, you’re either wearing out shoe leather or the tires of your wheelchair/scooter. Winter weather a problem? No problem if you’re providing something the community doesn’t have to leave the mall to obtain. Small grocers would be ideal, as would bakeries and butcher shops. Have a ground-floor café, it’s nothing like Paris but it’s better than nothing.
It would be really radical if we had room specifically for the housing and rehabilitation of the homeless. This is a capitalist society, so it’s unlikely to happen, but consider that families might easily be housed in small apartments and the responsible adult or adults found employment within Malltown. Since it’s easier to get a job when you have a job, make it a program, a trampoline into even better work and being able to afford better digs — at which point the family or individual is followed by the agency for a set amount of time, and can come back to said agency if need be.
This place did it. I’m sure we can do better, can’t we?
Let’s go, Malltown!