“Birth, death and shopping”

The Economist on the rise and fall of the shopping mall.

One reason for the malls’ problems is that the suburbs have changed. When the Southdale shopping centre opened on the outskirts of Minneapolis, the suburbs were almost entirely white and middle-class. Whites were fleeing a wave of new arrivals from the South (the black population of Minneapolis rose by 155% between 1940 and 1960). Although Gruen could not bear to admit it, his invention appealed to those who wanted downtown’s shops without its purported dangers. These days, in Minneapolis as in much of America, the ethnic drift is in the opposite direction. The suburbs are becoming much more racially mixed while the cities fill up with hip, affluent whites. As a result, suburban malls no longer provide a refuge from diversity.

Particularly interesting given that the first indoor mall and also the country’s largest mall are both here, 6.5 miles apart, and that the Twin Cities are certainly experiencing the demographic shift described.

Also, is it just me, or is that a sort of strange choice of photo for that article?

(via taylor)

1 Comment so far

  1. Greg (unregistered) on December 31st, 2007 @ 10:05 pm

    I like the picture of a lady holding a frying pan captioned, “Southdale in its gleaming heyday.” LOL

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