What America’s shopping mall decline means for social space


Where are you going? This outfit with this hair? Hello, bye bye, I am so at the mall. Between 1970 and 2017, the number of American
malls quadrupled. Population didn’t even double in the same
time frame. Malls were opening really, really fast. That growth slowed down. About a quarter of the malls could close in
the next 5 years. Some people call this the death of the mall
— and that’s kind of true. Here’s why that matters. Our lives are lived in 1 of 3 places: The first is the home. The second is where you work. And the ‘third place’… well that’s
anywhere outside of those two. There are 8 qualities that make for great
third places: It sounds kind of academic, but trust me you
know it when you see them: The best “third places” invite conversation They’re close to home. And lots of time can be spent without spending
much money These are places where people can exchange
ideas, have a good time, and build relationships. In the 1950s, America had a problem: Their brand new suburbs lacked quality third
places. This guy wanted to solve that problem. So he designed the first enclosed shopping
mall. This is Southdale Center. The world’s most fabulous shopping center… The format caught on like wildfire, fueled
by tax incentives for new developments — that included malls. Soon, they were being built by the dozen. Over the next 50 years there were over 1000
enclosed shopping malls scattered across America. Along the way, they became the hangout for
American youth. The thing about that is, even Victor Gruen
admitted his design was a monumental failure. Because when you look at the qualities of
great third places… malls deliver on some, but not all. They’re safe, and well lit No one has to play host at the mall And they’re accessible no matter the weather. But on the flip side, you can’t really walk
to the mall — you need a car. And once you’re there, conversation should
be the main activity. In a mall, that’s shopping. Third places should make everyone feel equal. The mall, by contrast, is more fun for the
rich. Now contrast that with a different take on
the third place — the National Mall in Washington DC. It’s open for long hours The mood is playful It’s free. You can visit with a short walk, or by public
transportation. With indoor and outdoor public spaces This adds up to an environment that fosters…
community. When you look at these two side by side, which
would you choose? while some malls are being repurposed, others
are just getting torn down… This is in part because of the recession in
2008; people had less money to spend. While more than 90% of purchases in the US
are still made in physicals store… more people are getting their goods online. And we aren’t just shopping online. Our relationships and connections are going
digital as well. More than 3 in 4 people in the US has a smartphone. When social media is used to actively connect
with others, it can be like a digital “third place.” But studies like this one show that some digital
communication can affect your mental or even physical health. The mall occupies a unique space in America’s
conscience. And that’s largely because we have an innate
need for face-to-face contact. And in some areas, the mall was that place. But as more malls shut down so too are other
third places, and the replacements often have little stake in the local community. But there is a better way — consider the
public beaches of downtown Detroit, or the redevelopment of Bryant Park in New York City. Or, you could just support a locally-owned
coffee shop. So the decline of the mall doesn’t need
to be the death of the third place –it’s up to us to decide where those spaces will
be.




Comments
  1. For those wondering about title graphic at :33, it's Cecil Robert's — Toto- Africa (playing in an empty shopping centre)! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D__6hwqjZAs

  2. Yeah but in my town everytime people find a public place to start hanging out the police show up and make everyone stop socializing and leave because they love harassing teenagers and young adults here in central texas….. smfh. 😡

  3. I honestly don't care that mainstream malls are dying, now I get to watch more Dan Bell dead mall series lol

  4. I love the mall and I’m an unemployed 16 year old who can’t drive 🤷🏻‍♀️ Usually bus routes go right to a major mall.

  5. Though I agree with all of this, as a washingtonian I think the National Mall may serve as a good example for this video but is a poor example in real life. A better example, from the local perspective would be Malcolm X park. In fact, any neighborhood park is a better suited third place than a downtown park.

  6. Malls just dont fit for the millenial or gen z’s. Personally, i dont find having to rummage through a crowd to buy something when i can just go on my my laptop and them on amazon, and next day ship it.

  7. Since I don’t have a credit card, the only place I can buy my altar supplies and incense is at the local pagan shop in my favorite mall. I love that place, but I’m afraid that when I’m older it’ll be gone..

  8. "Great Third Places!" It was not about the place, it was about the change in religion. Americans abandoned the traditional third places of traditional religion and opted for the new religion which is materialism!

  9. Malls just aren't that easily accessible. Not many people live near a mall and people usually have to travel a little while to get to a mall. And the size of the parking lots are ridiculous!

  10. Malls are fun… Well can be .
    I live in a city so our malls are full most times or semi on weekdays and the experience from a mall is not the same as shopping on Amazon,eBay ,macari ect…. Much rather go in person and browse and talk to actual people and eat snacks in a mall than stay at home or order online .. online is good for some things but that's very boring . Malls are going out because people have gotten very antisocial and lazy but I get it cause like I said I shop online too for some things but a physical store be it indoormall or strip mall to outdoors one…well I rather have human interaction and scenery and experience than glued to my phone for every shopping need.

  11. I keep hearing that malls will close and are all over the nation, however here in Southern California I haven’t seen any close and are actually getting remade even bigger like in Los Angeles, the Beverly Center is an example. Or maybe California is excluded from the shopping mall phenomenon lol

  12. The dead mall holds the key to be the new urban town centers. It was a shopping mall of course so it already had the connections for power, sewage and water; simply shut off. No need to build any comprehensive new infrastructure. It's already there. We cant afford to “throw” these places away as they represent a huge investment of resources, energy and capital. Building communities out of the ashes of the retail meltdown; with the option of being able to safely walk, bike, scooter, etc. Suddenly cars are reverted to their original status; a way of transportation, not a way of life.

  13. Maybe because of mostly black hood violence being one thing killing malls terrorizing the shoppers, tenants, and the surrounding areas when shoplifting, harassment, fighting, and shootings start to occur more. Like Chris Rock said about two types of malls.

  14. malls in China are mainly just restaurants and clothes shops…bookshops and dvd shops are actually really rare in Chinese malls because everyone buys stuff online

  15. It's because the car culture in America. In other countries, mall are close to mass transit point. Many US people don't use public transit, so the mall is everywhere and not profitable to renew.

  16. "You can't really walk to a mall" thats an American problem… I know many malls with good acessability that you can just walk to then

  17. People still live malls but more people are strictly shopping online and using social media but the mall is a place for recreation.

  18. It's funny how we have being condition to think and forced to be at work (slavery) for must of our time, the third should be the second.

  19. "Tax incentives"… When it was America's greatest history it was also really America's most progressive history.

  20. I grew up with a mall we could walk to in the 70's. Spent alot of time shopping & going to the manatee with family & bff's. Eating at Frenchie's burg & hotdog place & candy at Woothworth's. They still have a couple stores open there, but it's hanging on a limb. Our other mall across the city is still doing OK. I'll always have fond memories of the years we spent at the mall.

  21. well here the train has station inside a mall and in that area, there are several mall interconnected by different companies

  22. Squares! What many US cities lack of are squares. Spaces where people gather spontaneously (and for free), chatting, playing and even drinking, while strolling around the town. And plus to this, they are so beautiful. That’s what I love about my country (Italy) and all of Europe. But that’s a social, cultural and urbanistic issue.

  23. I believe that many malls are becoming the domain of the rich in many larger cities and metropolitan areas. They're attracting more high end stores in ordee to survive.

  24. Less tax on them , they could make them into storage space instead of building storage places . It can also become small office buildings for growing businesses . Some malls can be turned into schools which some have already but in the next decade. They could maybe take away the ceiling and make it a outdoor like shopping center ! they could make transportation from state to state with malls closing down and make the malls into a small train or bus station. There is a parking lot for those who want to travel elsewhere. They should use some European inspiration if they do that. They can also maybe make a mall into a place where movies are filmed! Imagine how many sets can be built in a mall. They could honestly institutionalize some of the malls because some malls have a good design of architecture. Maybe turn it into a hostel for homeless or people that need temporary housing. Some malls are just going to stand there because some counties or states don’t want to pay money to bulldoze it. Malls have so many purposes and if people were willing to figure it out.

  25. My third place is my church…. I make decent money, but I'm too frugal and busy to spend time at the mall… I do share many memories of it growing up though.

  26. As a youth in today’s America this is sooo true there is the home the school and then the third place, I the winter I think that 3rd place is the mall. But in the summer pools and sports fields are the 3rd place. I am thankful to live in a fairly wealthy neighborhood so it isn’t very hard to find the 3rd place

  27. I don´t remember the last time a drone didn´t deliver either clothes, drugstore stuff, bedding, even shoes, cleaning, washing, even health servants, personal trainers, dog walkers, car washing, etc. we don´t physically actually buy anything anymore, I just sit on a computer all day, for sports or shows, I just watch the daily 6 minute highlights, we never go to a stadium or mall, and malls are full of gold digger people running around or scammers, psychos, weirdos, dangerous women, etc.
    well, now my woman just pushes some buttons on a phone, and a drone vehicle unloads the weekly groceries at the front door 🙂 malls and markets are now like museums, we just go there to see concept products for fun

  28. I want to spend less time possible in mall but I can’t. My office is connected to a mall and will pass H&M everything I go to the parking spot.

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