mall4all is an urban redesign proposal for the Allen Street Malls in Lower Manhattan undertaken by Dana Martens, David Utt, and Beyza Toptal for their Urban Interaction Design (UxD) at Parsons School of Design in Spring 2015.


Our design team made several trips to the Allen mall site at different times of the week/day and used design-research methodologies (AEIOU Observation Framework, Qualitative Interviews, Pedestrian/biker counts, route mapping) to note patterns in user types, activities, transportation modes, interaction with street furniture, and patronage of adjacent stores and housing along different sections of the mall.


We found that there were two main differences between highly trafficked areas of the mall and low-trafficked areas, regardless of renovations already made to the space in previous years.

  1. Sections of the mall that included renovations focused on mixed-use for bikes, pedestrians, and vehicles were the most heavily utilized areas. In these areas, clear and simple wayfinding was essential. For example, in areas where the mall was widened to include bike lanes, those that incorporated landscape, mixed materials, furniture, pavement colors, and clear directional signage for different users was the most heavily utilized.
  2. While there are several side streets that cut across the mall, most users walk right through the area. Sections that leveraged landscape and street furniture design at these intersections (raised pavement, painted lines leading to/from the mall, and well-positioned benches and plants) more effectively captured side-street traffic, encouraging visitors to rest and linger to the area.

Our proposal focused on addressing these major issues by borrowing from the design of European pedestrian malls to make the space more accessible and welcoming for all visitors. Changes incorporate major infrastructural projects that must be led by municipal government but also leaves plenty of room for community stakeholders to have a say (modular furniture, small space design, parklets etc.)

Read the full Allen Street Final Proposal.

See the Slide Deck.