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Reimagining the Westland Mall Site

Student-Led, Faculty-Guided Project (2021)

Authors: Maggie Huntley, Wesley Kauza, Mahra Maaita, Lajla Poljak, Kevin Wen


The City of Westland requests your assistance in creating a vision plan for the Westland Mall site. This project is inspired by an ongoing interest to transform the Westland Mall site and the area immediately surrounding it. The City was developed around and is named after the once immensely popular Westland Mall. However, like a majority of malls throughout the country in today’s evolving retail market it has lost its vibrancy and is failing to attract major tenants. Recently, the City collaborated with McKenna Associates and Gibbs Planning Group to create a City Centre District plan that repurposes the vacant or struggling mall structures and adds a variety of retail, office and residential components to the existing layout. This vision plan takes another approach by starting with a clean slate and reimagining what the mall area should look like in the future. Imagine that Westland Mall is completely vacant and blighted in 5-10 years. Where do we go from there? Do we acquire the mall? Do we tear it down? Do we try and reconfigure and repurpose buildings?    

This vision plan must evaluate the current market conditions, populations and areas that the existing mall or proposed retail can expect to draw customers from, make predications for future market demands and be highly flexible to adapt to varying market conditions. High quality architecture and public spaces must be essential parts to the project. Reconnecting the grid and a focus on viable land uses, such as the possibility of an Eds and Meds campus, must also be considered. The plan can review which buildings, if any, could be reused and which have the greatest potential for adaptive reuse but the thought behind this project would be to start from scratch. 

Author Information

Students in the capstone Planning Practicum class in their final semester in the Urban and Regional Planning Program in the School of Planning Design and Construction at Michigan State University.

Faculty member: Dr. Kotval 

Community Client: Mr. Ayoub