Monday, July 27, 2020

The rise and fall of the mall from Business Insider, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic

I've been concentrating on failures of individual chains in the tales of the Retail Apocalypse I've covered this blogging year.* I think it's time to revisit the theme of Vox on America's dying malls as failed third spaces, which was the entry that got me started on covering the Retail Apocalypse as an overarching phenomenon instead of the just the failure of my local mall. For that, I present a video follow-up of sorts to Business Insider on dead malls in the Retail Apocalypse with assistance from Dan Bell and Radiohead, Business Insider's The Rise And Fall Of The Mall.

Starting with the opening of the Southland Mall in 1956 malls have been a vaulted piece of Americana for decades. Thousands were built across the country and for a while it seemed they would dominate the American landscape forever, but in recent years they’ve rapidly lost their value. So how did malls go from being a mainstay in American society to a quickly vanishing memory?
Before I comment on the video, I wish to correct the video description. It's the Southdale Center, not the Southland Mall, that's the first enclosed American mall. At least the video gets it right  Also, I think the adjective should be vaunted, not vaulted, although a lot of malls are that, too.

Speaking of the video, I think this is a more focused summary of the history of malls and their issues seen in Wired on dead malls, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse.** Also, I am not surprised that the American Dream Mall I featured in The future of malls for Cyber Monday, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse is having problems. I am surprised that The Mall of America has been unable to pay its mortgage, although maybe I shouldn't be. Chalk it up to the COVID-19 pandemic. That means I probably should cover that story in more detail in a future entry. Stay tuned.

*Which is also the Persian year, a fortunate coincidence that explains why I celebrate Nowruz (Persian New Year) and my blog's birthday concurrently.

**It's also a more focused and lively presentation than the video series Sam of Brick Immortar has created on the history of malls. Now that I've mentioned them, I should use those videos in a future entry as well.


  1. Goof or bad let's use put these empty structures to good use. We have thousands and thousand of homeless people who desperately need shelter especially with this pandemic. So what are we waiting for?

    1. Hi, Joy and welcome to the blog! We're waiting for leadership and money, in that order.