27 November 2009

The Enclosed Mall

It being Black Friday in suburban Southwestern Pennsylvania, what better topic to consider than the death of the shopping mall?  I'd recommend a terrific article by Mark Dery in Change Observer on the landscape of dead malls and ideas for their future, and a Malcolm Gladwell piece from The New Yorker in 2004 on the original conception behind the mall.


That Was Then

A passage from the Architectural Record review of the Southdale Center in Edina, Minnesota - the first mall in the country.
There is nothing suburban about Southdale except its location. It is an imaginative distillation of what makes downtown magnetic: the variety, the individuality, the lights, the color, even the crowds—for Southdale’s pedestrian-scale spaces insure a busyness and a bustle. Added to this essence of existing downtowns are all kinds of things that ought to be there if downtown weren’t so noisy and dirty and chaotic—sidewalk cafés, art, islands of planting, pretty paving. Other shopping centers, however pleasant, seem provincial in contrast with the real thing—the city downtown. But in Minneapolis, it is the downtown that appears pokey and provincial in contrast with Southdale’s metropolitan character.

This Is Now

Images of Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois.  Vacant since 1978, the mall continues to decay, and was recently voted the "Best Dead Mall."  Uplifting.


 Dixie Square Mall, Harvey, IL, 2009. Photo: Jon Revelle






Happy shopping.

4 comments:

Kyle said...

What about that mall in south Toledo?

ldbahr said...

The Southwyck Mall? It was destroyed in May of this year apparently.

ldbahr said...

In case you are wondering, the Southwyck Center outside of Toledo is the closest MegaBus stop from Chicago to Columbus - and one of the saddest places I've ever seen. It's been demolished. Thank goodness.

Kyle said...

Worse still was the abandoned Montgomery Ward, a remnant of what must have been Toledo's proudest moment--an outlier to Detroit's cultural prominence in the 60s. People used to dress up to shop there.

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