Shopping mall

For the traditional meaning of the word mall, see mall.
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The Mall, an out-of-town shopping centre at Patchway, near Bristol, England. Escalators connect the upper and lower shopping levels.

A shopping mall is a building or set of buildings that contain stores and have interconnecting walkways that make it easy for people to walk from store to store. The walkways may or may not be enclosed. In the United Kingdom and Australia these are called shopping centers or shopping arcades.

A strip mall is a shopping mall where the stores are arranged in a row, with a sidewalk in front. Strip malls are typically developed as a unit and have large parking lots in front. They face major traffic arterials and tend to be self-contained with few pedestrian connections to surrounding neighborhoods. In the United Kingdom these are called "retail parks" or "out of town shopping centers", even though they might not be out of town.



Indoor shopping is not a recent innovation. Isfahan's Grand Bazaar, which is largely covered, dates from the 10th century A.D. The 10 kilometer long covered Tehran's Grand Bazaar has also a very old history. The Burlington Arcade in London was opened in 1819. The Arcade in Providence, Rhode Island introduced the concept to the United States in 1828. The larger Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy followed in the 1860s and is closer to large modern malls in spaciousness. Many other large cities created similar malls in the late 19th century and early 20th century along similar lines, one of the best examples being the Cleveland Arcade.

In the late 20th century, with the rise of the suburb and automobile culture in the United States, a new form of mall was created away from city centers. The design is modeled after small town main streets in the USA, but placed entirely indoors. This new generation of mall was pioneered by Northgate, located in north Seattle, USA, in 1950; Northland Shopping Center, built near Detroit, USA in 1954; and Victor Gruen's Southdale Center, located in the Twin Cities suburb of Edina, Minnesota, USA, in 1956.

Crocker Galleria in
Crocker Galleria in San Francisco

A very large shopping mall is sometimes called a megamall. The title of the largest enclosed shopping mall was held by the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for 20 years. One of the world's largest shopping complex at one discrete location is the two-mall agglomeration of the Plaza at King of Prussia and the Court at King of Prussia in the Philadelphia suburb of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, USA. The most visited shopping mall in the world and largest mall in the United States is the Mall of America, located near the Twin Cities in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA.

The developing world has embraced the shopping mall and the race is on to build the largest. Beijing's Golden Resources Shopping Mall opend in October 2004 is currently the world's largest, at 6 million square feet. The Mall of Arabia inside Dubai Land in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which will open in 2006, will become the largest mall in the world.

Mall can refer to a shopping mall, which is a place where a collection of shops all adjoin a pedestrian area, or an exclusively pedestrian street, that allows shoppers to walk without interference from vehicle traffic. Mall is generally used in North America and Australasia to refer to large shopping areas, while the term arcade is more often used, especially in Britain, to refer to a narrow pedestrian-only street, often covered or between closely spaced buildings. A larger, often only partly covered but exclusively pedestrian shopping area is in Britain also termed a shopping precinct or pedestrian precinct. The majority of British shopping centers are in town centers, usually inserted into old shopping districts, and surrounding by subsidiary open air shopping streets. A number of large out of town "regional malls" such as Meadowhall were built in the 1980s and 1990s, but there are only ten of them or so and current planning regulations prohibit the construction of any more. Out of town shopping developments in the UK are now focused on retail parks, which consist of groups of warehouse style shops with individual entrances from outdoors. Planning policy prioritizes the development of existing town centers, although with patchy success.

In the U.S, in recent times, as more modern facilities are built, many early malls have become largely abandoned, due to decreased traffic and tenancy. These dated and deteriorating "dead malls" have failed to attract new business and often sit unused for many years until restored or demolished. Interesting examples of architecture and urban design, these structures often attract people who explore and photograph them. Until the mid-1990s, the trend was to build enclosed malls and to renovate older outdoor malls into enclosed ones. Such malls had advantages such as temperature control. Since then, the trend has turned. It is once again fashionable to build open-air malls, and some enclosed malls have been opened up, such as the Sherman Oaks Galleria.

Legal issues

One controversial aspect of malls has been their effective displacement of traditional main streets. For obvious reasons, many consumers prefer malls -- with their spacious parking garages, well-maintained walkways, and private security guards -- over public streets, which often suffer from limited parking, poor maintenance, and limited police coverage.

In response, a few jurisdictions, notably California, have expanded the right of freedom of speech to ensure that speakers will be able to reach consumers who prefer to shop within the boundaries of privately owned malls. See Pruneyard Shopping Center.

See also public space.

See also

External links

de:Einkaufszentrum fa:پاساژ fr:Centre commercial he:מרכז קניות ja:ショッピングセンター nl:Winkelcentrum nb:Kjpesenter nn:Kjpesenter pt:Shopping center


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