America at the Mall
The Cultural Role of a Retail Utopia
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About the Book
Since the construction of the first fully enclosed shopping center in 1952, the shopping mall has evolved into the heart of many suburban areas across the United States. More than simply a place to purchase goods, this veritable “temple of consumerism” has become a primary place for community and social interaction and an essential element in many citizens’ day-to-day lives.
This study explores the spiritual, emotional and physical effects of the enclosed shopping mall on the public, chronicling the growth of the mall, its role in shaping urban and suburban life, its positive and negative impacts on society and the environment, and its future viability. As this work shows, the mall remains rich in symbolic influence, and in many ways mirrors the American condition.
About the Author(s)
Lisa Scharoun, an assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Canberra, Australia, has published research on the symbolism of shopping malls in the Australasian Journal of Popular Culture and The Conversation. She has exhibited her design, photography and fine art in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and China.
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: 90 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
Table of Contents
1. The Birth of the Mall 7
2. Suburbia and the American Dream 19
3. The Decline of Downtown 32
4. The Mall and Religion 46
5. Main Street 56
6. Teens and the Mall 69
7. Senior Citizens and the Mall 78
8. The Mall as “Public” Space 88
9. The Mall and the Environment 97
10. Dawn of the Dead Mall 108
11. The Rise of the Big Boxes 120
12. Regional Mall Case Studies 134
13. Case Studies: Super-Regional Malls, Lifestyle Centers, and Hybrids 170
14. New Urbanism and the Death of the Urban Mall 198
15. The Future of Public Space in America 225
Book Reviews & Awards
“This book covers it all…. Recommended”—Choice; “charts the rise and fall of the shopping mall, looking at the mall not just as a commercial site, but as a rich institution of American culture”—Reference & Research Book News.