Out of Control Policy Blog

Suburban style evolution: Mall Edition

The "get 'em in, get 'em" out mentality is giving way to the "let them linger" approach. Virginia Postrel notes the Starbucksization of the shopping mall:

    Over the last decade and a half, the once-monolithic mall has become more diversified, more aesthetically appealing and more porous. Outdoor "lifestyle centers," often without department stores, are reinventing the city street, while traditional malls revamp to provide more entertainment, more restaurants, more appealing public spaces and more reasons to linger. After five decades of experiment and evolution, the American shopping center is finally beginning to fulfill its inventor's dream: to re-create the human-scale European city "filled, morning and evening, day and night, weekdays and Sundays, with urban dynamism."

    That dreamer's name was Victor Gruen, an architect in exile. In the mid-20th century, he lived in Beverly Hills but longed for Vienna, the city he'd been driven from by the Nazis.

More here.

Related: My take on other aspects of the Suburban Style Evolution:

    Ease into the red Eames chair next to the fireplace, log onto a high-speed wireless connection and dine on your fruit and walnut salad. Where are you? You just might be at one of the new-look McDonald's that the company recently unveiled in certain markets. The kind of evolution Mickey D's has been going through has also reshaped many other suburban fixtures and the transformation may render many of the criticisms lobbed at suburbia outdated–that is, if they were ever accurate in the first place.

More on McDonald's, subdivisions, SUVs and Wal-Mart here.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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