Monday, August 24, 2009

If I ruled the world - part 1

Okay... maybe not the world, but if I had a magic wand I would wish for Fairfax Village Shopping Center (FVSC) to reach its full potential. The photo above is the FVSC as it stands today. A charming building with a drab brick color, high hedges, boring signage, and people just loitering. As I mentioned before thanks Ms. Kelsi, I had an opportunity to meet with the property manager to discuss how FVSC could be better. I summarized the "low hanging" fruit items we talked about, such as putting up "No Loitering" signs and adding in a "One Way" sign.

For today's blog, I'd like to take a different look at FVSC. I'd like to focus on the building aesthetics. The building has a certain charm that I would like to see accentuated and celebrated. Every time I look at it, I'm reminded of a small shopping center near where I went to graduate school in Ithaca, NY called Community Corners.

Here are some inspirational photos from the Friends of Community Corners website with my commentary:

Photo 1. Look at how they are creative with the landscaping. While the parking lot at FVSC may be too small for a large rectangular planter, it could definitely be revived with some hanging plants and small potted trees. Maybe it is just me, but I also like the white building with the large country bay windows. A country feel in the middle of an urban area.

Photo 2. Outdoor dining. What a concept!! While the dialysis center in FVSC is an important function to the community, it is too bad they are expanding into the of former space of First Cash Advance. As one of my commenters stated, that area is begging to be a cafe with outdoor dining.

Ideas for Fairfax Village Shopping Center
  • Paint the building a Dutch-blue, a medium-dark gray, or a butter yellow with the white accent to enhance charm and blend with the colors of the Fairfax Village condo community
  • Replace hedges with lower hedges and other flowers to add color. Add an open gate in dark color to compliment architecture of building.
  • Disguise the large dumpsters with architectural structures and/or landscaping


  1. I love the colonial brick look as is--very handsome (and probably a little boring), but could tolerate some of the paint schemes you mentioned. The Spring Valley Shopping Center is brick painted white, and it doesn't look too much like STEPFORD WIVES painted it--delightful, sleepy, little place. Comparitively, Cleveland Park is very dignified in colonial brick.

    Sign me up for everything else you suggested (the signs, the one-way-in traffic control), and you made an excellent point in our last chat about the loitering--why can't these folks just loiter over to the Gregory Library? I'm going to avoid making sweeping generalizations, and just guess they'd rather be outside, because similar forms of socialization occur in other parts of the city. Not sure how culturally relevant the loitering situation is, but, you can't help wondering if there isn't some way to channel that loitering in a different direction.

  2. Well the new library will have outdoor balconies, so they can loiter outside there. In the meantime, Hillcrest Recreation Center has plenty of outdoor space that's FREE.