Dead Malls: Suburban Planning Nightmare or Opportunity?

Failing malls didn’t get into trouble overnight: most began their descent long before the tough climate.

September 30, 2009, 9:00 AM PDT

By Tim Halbur


"The enclosed shopping mall, an uniquely American retail innovation, was the 'future of retail' in the 1950s and 60s. Shopping centers became an icon of suburban living in the 1970s and 80s, before beginning their slowly accelerating decline in the 1990s. Today, the growing number of dead or dying shopping malls and centers are seen as symbols of the downside of 'suburban sprawl.'

Finding new uses for old shopping centers will likely be a significant challenge for planners and real estate developers over the next decade. While revitalized downtown areas are making use of 19th Century buildings and neighborhoods to generate new businesses and profits, the iconic, post-World War II shopping mall design of the 20th Century too often fails to offer the same flexibility."

Thanks to Rodney C. Nanney, AICP

Monday, September 28, 2009 in Building Place Notebook

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