Living at the Mall - Not Just a Figure of Speech

What comes next for the doomed, enclosed mall across America? This article highlights a number of solutions, including an adaptive reuse model that incorporates housing units inside the mall itself.

"The mall as we know it today is a mistake.

The lonely box of concrete plopped in the suburban diaspora, outdated and, in many cases, dying, isn't quite what Victor Gruen, the Austrian-born Holocaust survivor largely credited with inventing it, envisioned. Instead, the regional enclosed shopping mall was supposed to be a community center-a little bit of downtown and a car-free haven that would include day care facilities, offices, and, perhaps most importantly, residential living components a stone's throw from the building; the mall was always supposed to have housing nearby.

Perhaps today Gruen would finally be satisfied, because in its newest incarnation, the mall has finally become not just a place to shop, but to live. The mortgage meltdown, shifting demographics and a growing antipathy toward suburban sprawl have caused developers to see malls not as retail dinosaurs but as giant land banks, where going vertical can appease environmentalists, potential buyers and stockholders alike.

It's happening slowly, but it's happening all over America, and industry experts expect the trend to grow. If inner cities are starting to see condo projects go rental or remain unsold, and some new suburban subdivisions are settling into modern ghost towns as the foreclosure crisis deepens, the one bright spot in the housing market might just be here: at the mall."

Full Story: Malls, the Future of Housing?

Comments

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Woman wearing city map tote bag

City Shoulder Totes - New Cities Added!

Durable CityFabric© shoulder tote bags available from 9 different cities.
$22.00
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95