AMAC Magazine - Volume 17 / Issue 6 - NOV/DEC 2023

Yesteryear A Return to

Y our nose rises from the fragrant combination of warm cinna- mon pretzels and premium perfume wafting over your face. Your footsteps echo on the shiny marble floor, surrounded by laugh- ter, families, and bustling sales, all conveniently under one roof. You likely come here at least once every holiday season, but it still makes you swoon each time, because you have just entered an American delicacy: the shopping mall. But have you ever wondered where malls came from or why they became such a prominent part of American culture—and what is causing more to appear abandoned today? Will future generations ever know the conve- nience of shopping for books and

music, tools, and high-tech hardware, all in one place? We can only hope. Malls were an outcome of the auto- mobile boom in the 1950s—aimed to lure homebuyers from bustling, overcrowded cities into the suburbs. Here, the new nation on wheels could enjoy manicured lawns, picket fences, shopping, and a novel concept: the parking lot. Unlike a main street or marketplace, the park- ing lot offered more room, attract- ing more customers, businesses, and development budgets. With this expanded space and budget, the facility could be built enclosed, allowing for climate control. This also eliminated the hassle of travel- ing to multiple locations in hazardous

weather and encouraged a shopping experience that was safe, convenient, and much like the beloved suburbs . . . incredibly modern and brand-spank- ing new. The baby boom that accompanied the suburban migration sparked high- level brainstorming amongst mall owners. To keep mothers shopping longer, they needed to keep the chil- dren entertained. And if anyone got hungry? They needed an answer to that, too. Malls soon became packed with various attractions to keep people indoors. These social necessi- ties quickly changed malls from the place to shop to the place to be. By the late ‘80s, over half of US retail sales came from malls. But today,

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