Retail Areas

Shopping can be both a necessity and a recreational activity. Retail areas - from neighbourhood shops to large shopping malls - are the focus of many local trips. However, people are travelling longer distances to dispersed discount outlets and homemaker retail centres, almost always by car.

Mixing land uses in and around accessible centres creates opportunities for people to live near shops, public transport and other services, making them more easily reached by walking and cycling, rather than by car. It is therefore important to have well-located and designed retail areas and shopping centres that are vital, accessible, safe and convenient. This can also help foster a sense of community spirit.

Design objectives

  • To locate retail areas and shopping centres in a network of attractive and vibrant mixed use centres in a hierarchy of sizes and functions, closely aligned to the public transport system. 
  • To achieve well-located retail areas that are easily reached and accessed by walking and cycling. 
  • To provide well-designed facilities in retail areas that foster community spirit and meet the needs of users of all ages and abilities.

Design considerations

  • Integrate new shopping malls and large stores into mixed use urban centres. Avoid dispersed, isolated retail locations because they can only be reached by car and incur significant community and environmental costs.
  • Encourage access by all modes of transport through site layout that balances the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, buses as well as driver comfort and visibility.
  • Design retail areas/shopping centres to allow direct and convenient access from the street and adjacent uses by walking and cycling, as well as access for people with disabilities.
  • Provide direct access for buses and taxis to the entrances of retail areas/shopping centres, with sheltered stops and timetable information.
  • Design shops to overlook the street where possible, rather than high blank walls that discourage the perceived safety of walking.
  • Provide public facilities for the comfort of shoppers such as seating, drinking fountains and clear signage, as well as cafes and restaurants, to encourage community interaction.
  • Provide for the comfort of walkers and cyclists through the provison of end-of-trip facilities such as shower, changing and locker facilities.
  • Provide safe, clear circulation routes and congregation points, with seating and non-slip flooring, especially in busy areas.

Key references

Additional resources

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