Collaboration reimagines shopping mall as wellness hub
By James Dean

In the vacant former Ulta Beauty space at The Shops at Ithaca Mall, eye-catching displays on a recent Saturday featured not cosmetics but brightly colored sticky notes, magic marker drawings, file cards, masking tape, yarn, pipe cleaners and Play-Doh.

Equipped with those art supplies, more than 60 community members, nonprofit leaders, Cayuga Health System representatives and Cornell faculty and students contemplated a mall makeover – collaborating on ideas that might help transform the underutilized property into a hub for community health and well-being.

Prototypes they developed at the April 12-13 “re-imagining” workshop, “The Mall for Health and Community,” pictured walking trails around and through the shopping center; teams of health advocates (human and robotic) and a skylit “navigation center”; classroom, library, dining and play spaces; natural areas replacing a parking lot; plus a garage and an affordable housing complex.

Among the team were Engaged Faculty Fellows Mardelle Shepley and Julie Carmalt, as well as students in their community-engaged learning courses, Health and Healing Studio and Designing for Health Equity.

Continue reading in the Cornell Chronicle