Monday, May 11, 2009

Smart Solutions For A Retail Apocalypse

Posted on Monday May 11th by Jebediah Reed from The Infrastructurist at

Malls are being mauled. In case you’ve been paying closer attention to Wall Street or the housing market, rest assured that America’s once-bustling shopping meccas are doing just as poorly.

Last month, General Growth Properties, the country’s second largest mall owner, declared bankruptcy. Anchor chains are dropping like flies, from Circuit City to Filene’s Basement. The trend has even reached the level of irony as liquidation resellers are being liquidated. The practical implication of all this is that local malls are going dark all the time across the country, with the carnage being documented at sites like

It’s fair to assume to that these vacant structures are now done forever–at least as old-school malls. But rather than let them become gaping holes in the fabric of our communities, it’s time embrace the national project of finding ways to reimagine them as vital, forward-looking developments. This is exactly what Ellen Dunham Jones and June Williamson have done in their book Retrofitting Suburbia. Recently we spoke with Dunham-Jones, the director of the architecture program at Georgia Tech, about how repairing the legacy of this failed American institution.

Read the findings of Jebedia Reed's interview with book co-author Ellen Dunham-Jones at The Infrastructurist: America Under Construction.


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