Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The "De-mall-ification" of America

This article (from Slate) and the accompanying photographs are extremely interesting.  The discussion of the decline of the stand-alone, enclosed shopping mall evokes a number of thoughts.

First, the initial "take" of many urban economists was that such malls were contributing to the decline of older urban shopping districts, either in central business districts or in neighborhoods. 

Second, suburban shopping malls began to die, at least piecemeal, a long time ago.  In Indianapolis, where I live, the first suburban mall--Eastgate, about 7.5 miles east of the city center (it opened in 1957)--was eclipsed by Washington Square (opening in 1974, about 2.5 miles further east) and shuttered by the late 1980s.  Lafayette Square Mall, about 9 miles northwest of the city center, opened in 1968, and is now essentially empty (and has been for more than a decade), a sea of concrete surrounding the few remaining stores.  Glendale, a near-suburban mall, about 8 miles north-northeast of the center, had undergone a number of transformations, from open-air to enclosed to essentially re-built with a free-standing Target, a Macy's, and maybe a half-dozen other stores.  Near its end (in the early 2000s), there were about a dozen remaining businesses.

Third, central cities have been restructured (I'm not sure I want so say revived) by the construction of "vertical" malls (such as Water Tower Place in Chicago) and adaptations of old downtown stores into malls (such as Circle City Center, in Indianapolis).

--- "Birth, Death, and Shopping:  The Rise and Fall of the Shopping Mall," The Economist, December 2007.
Amie Dickinson and Murray D. Rice, "Retail Development and Downtown Change:  Shopping Mall Impacts on Port Huron, Michigan," Applied Research in Economic Development, V. 7, N. 2010, pp. 2-13.
Kenneth T. Jackson, "All the World's a Mall: Reflections on the Social and Economic Consequences of the American Shopping Center," The American Historical Review, Vol. 101, No. 4 (Oct., 1996), pp. 1111-1121.
Michael Fix, "Addressing the Issue of the Economic Impact of Regional Malls in Legal Proceedings," Journal of Urban and Contemporary Lay:  Urban Law Annual, V. 20, 1980, pp. 101-133.
Kent A. Robertson, "Downtown Development Strategies in the United States:  An End-of-the-Century Assessment," Journal of the American Planning Association, V. 61, N. 4, 1995. pp. 429-437.


Post a Comment

<< Home