Call for Entries: Reimagining the Commercial Strip in Cascadia

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The name Cascadia calls to mind forests, mountains, water, vast open spaces, cities and towns and diverse cultural landscapes. But the daily reality for most of us is somewhat different. Yes, there are forests, waterways, urban centers and varied neighborhoods in the region, but there are also miles and miles of very similar commercial strip development, connecting towns along highways and hugging urban edges.

Strips fulfill necessary commercial functions; we all rely on them to some extent and they are where many small businesses begin and thrive.They are the logical products of the automotive way of life, transportation infrastructure, real estate finance, tax codes, retail economics and local land use regulations. Yet, many people will agree that strips leave something to be desired in function and aesthetics. Furthermore, commercial strips in this region also aren't much different physically and visually than their counterparts elsewhere in the country.

Challenge Statement:How should commercial strip developments in the Cascadia region evolve?

How can such developments also adapt to emerging energy, economic, demographic and cultural trends?

What might the strip look like in the foreseeable future? Strip development is already changing in response to economic trends favoring online retail, not to mention the pandemic. A few such examples include: food delivery and pickup designations in parking areas, parcel pickup depots and EV charging stations. What else might we anticipate or hope for?

Finally, what might make commercial strips more uniquely Cascadian?