Among the most iconic pieces of Americana, the mall, is American in any way. In fact, the first mall was created through an Austrian refugee who wanted to recreate an American variant of Vienna.
Consumerism and sprawl were the ordinary that is new, and Gruen was bothered by this. "[Strip malls are] paths of terror... flanked by the greatest collection of vulgarity--gas, motels, gas stations, shanties, auto lots, miscellaneous industrial gear, hot dog stands, wayside shops --collected by humanity," he wrote.
Gruen conveived of a central shopping location that would allow Americans socialize and to escape their cars. He envisioned a crop of apartment towers popping up around the mall, the creation of an urban downtown inside the suburbs - that's not what he got.
Gruen designed the very first shopping mall in the United States which opened in 1956 in Edina, Minnesota. The Southdale Shopping Center had cafés, 72 stores and a zoo and price $20 million to create. More than 70,000 people attended the mall . Copycat malls started to spring up across the country following Gruen's formulation exteriors multiple flooring looking down into high windows and a central atrium, with stores.
When shoppers entered fries their perceptions were thrown away and the environment dazzled them. Because of this, they shop more, often forgetting the purpose of their trip in the first location and would stay.
There have been 16,400 malls making 33% of all retail sales up and by 1987 there were 30,000 malls accounting for 50 percent of all retail dollars spent. The mall had taken over America.
Mall culture had arrived in the United States. Movies and TV shows proliferated the idea of this"valley girl," along with also the"mall rat" In the peak of mall culture, in 1992, America's Mall, not too opened its doors. America's Mall inhabited 78 acres making it the biggest mall in the United States. The Mall of America had 330 shops, an amusement park, also employed 10,000 people on opening day.
140 malls have been built a year, creating competition, and discount stores such as Marshall's began popping up, bringing bargain hunters.
As cash started moving back into the towns, the demographics of the suburbs changed. Between 2000 and 2011 the number of suburban poor grew by 64 percent, double the rate. In 2008, the U.S. toppled into a crippling downturn and in 2011, for the first time in over 100 years, urban population growth outpaced suburban expansion.
Around this time online retailers like Amazon.com took a 6% bite out of brick-and-mortar business.
Put together all of this and it meant bad news. Retail analyst Green Street Advisors predicts that 15 percent of malls will close over the next 10 years, and our nation's first mall, Southdale, has 18% of its stores unfilled.
Victor Gruen ended up renouncing the mall, saying he despised what it stood for and refused Commercial Lease Brisbane to"pay alimonies for these bastard jobs" It appears like 55 years later, he is finally getting his wish.