Reimagine Monroeville Mall Project
Nick Markovina, 12th Grade
The Monroeville Mall has various areas that can be utilized to create a greener, more
inclusive socially accepting place for all. The areas that will be focused on will be the parking
lot, the rooftop and the interior of the Mall itself.
The first area of interest is the parking lot. The parking lot is a large space that is
virtually entirely covered in asphalt. While the IDEA and design of an original parking lot is
unsustainable, there can be modifications to make it a sustainable place. I would propose the
idea of rain gardens being installed in areas that are typical of flooding as well as tree trenches
in the event of a large flooding incident. The installation of these items would be beneficial due
to the decrease of sediment runoff into the sewer system as well as less breakage in the asphalt
due to little to no water being left to sit stagnant in the parking lot. Pictured above is a Rain
Garden that can easily absorb rainwater and is located directly next to a parking lot. The rain
garden and tree trenches need to consist of specific plants in order to be productive. These
plants are listed here in the Penn State Extension website but essentially perennial, water loving
plants would help sustain these areas as well as water loving trees. In order for these rain
gardens and tree trenches to work, the parking lot would have to be modified. The proposed
modifications would alter the slant of the parking lot in certain areas in order to overhaul the
water drainage into the rain gardens. I was a member of a building team that created a rain
garden and the productivity is limited due to the pathway’s asphalt being damaged and cratered
and that naturally collects water.
The next area I will direct the attention to is the rooftop of the Mall. The rooftop of the mall is
primarily one of the larger heat reflectors of the building and is relatively bland.
Pictured above is the roof of Monroeville Mall. This roof is large and can be utilized for solar
panels and a green roof. The green roof would likely take place in the lower areas highlighted in
GREEN due to the lack of direct sunlight which is more needed for the solar panels. The rest of
the area of the roof would be dedicated to the solar panels and the various plants on the
rooftop. The solar panels would essentially make the malls electricity consumption net zero or
PRODUCE profit by selling it back to the power company. The green spots on the rooftop would
not only decrease erosion of the roof from water but also absorb heat as opposed to bouncing it off and or heating up the building in the summer. Pictured above is an example of a green
rooftop. This green rooftop can also be utilized to provide possible agricultural education
because of the massive amount of area on top, it can be used for classes to help the area with
things to do instead of the violence described. These classes can be volunteer taught and can
be advertised in the surrounding High schools. Not only would this provide purpose but attract
more foot traffic to this area. The water used for these classes and materials can come directly
from the mall. There can be rainwater collection on the rooftop to water the plants.
The next area of interest is the interior of the mall itself. While larger stores may take up
the bulk of the space and produce the bulk of the profit, there is plenty of merit to the idea of
local businesses having a spot in the Monroeville Mall. The most chosen/awarded major is
Business in some fashion. While many of these business majors typically work an office job and
get by, I think that the Monroeville mall can be utilized to stomp out that practicality of business
majors never really “booming” after college. The Monroeville Mall should attempt to take a large
portion of the mall and dedicate it to small businesses. Dedicating area to small businesses
would allow for an increase in foot traffic that would not typically attend a mall setting.
Additionally, an idea that should not be overlooked in the implementation of internships to these
smaller businesses via the local High Schools. Once again, another idea to keep the students
busy in the area and to provide a legitimate knowledge base of business and the local people
around them because even if that particular student does not go into business in the future,
these types of experiences will shape them into model, well rounded citizens. Another spot in
the mall to be looked at is the idea of renovating a portion of the food court to allow for local
restaurateurs to rent out for a few days or permanently to sell their products. This would
decrease carbon emissions greatly because likely the corporate businesses need their supplies
shipped and this is likely from a great distance and local restaurateurs are far closer than their
counterparts. The idea of creating jobs as well with these new restaurants would help increase
the area's wealth as well as job experience for the future. In the mall, it would be beneficial to
install hanging gardens, these hanging gardens would look like the picture attached below.
These hanging gardens would provide for a cleaner, more green environment in the mall as well
as offering the idea of having a better smelling and aesthetically pleasing atmosphere.
In conclusion, the Monroeville Mall has many areas that can be renovated to create a greener
and more socially and economically inclusive atmosphere.
About Nick Markovina
Nick is a senior in High School who is enrolled in the AP Environmental Science. Additionally, he is the President of the NHS Student Council and has a long history of community involvement.