Malls Reborn as 'Lifestyle Centers'

American shopping malls may be dying or already dead, but they are being reincarnated as mixed-use "lifestyle centers".

"Only three enclosed shopping malls have been built in the United States since 2005; none were built in 2008 and only one is planned to open in 2009. A driving force in the decline of the American shopping mall as we know it is a realization that the model is not sustainable, either economically or environmentally. Centralized shopping is not about to disappear from the American landscape, however."

"Malls built over the last few decades are being refurbished into so-called lifestyle centers, a term created by developers to describe what may be the world's oldest location for retail commerce: an urban mixed-use community. More and more, the nation's dead malls-as they are known in the parlance of an Internet subculture that has sprouted up to track the fate of failing mall properties-are being turned inside out. Buildings are taking a new form as vibrant, walkable neighborhood centers that are tied into the street grids of surrounding neighborhoods and by connections to public transit and bike and walking paths. Some envision these new spaces as a major force toward the re-urbanization of the United States."

Full Story: Dead malls



From what I've seen in

From what I've seen in central Maryland, I'm skeptical that "lifestyle centers" bring anything more than a new label and some minor aesthetic tweaks to the traditional mall concept. Sure, the stores, with cute facades and colorful awnings, are oriented towards a "Main Street" of sorts, but go around to their rear and you'll see the typical trademark of an indoor mall - a sea of parking fed directly from the highway or a major collector road. Actually walking to the center from outside of its asphalt island is near impossible - just as with a traditional mall. The product can't help but feel like a Disneyland-inspired knock-off of the real thing.

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