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Old 02-01-2013, 11:11 PM
 
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I got to know a lot of the people at family run businesses... even got invited to some of their functions.

Last year I was working on a 3 week project full time in another State... each night after getting something to eat... I would stop at the local Lowes with my list... 21 days of coming in every night around 7pm and I was surprised how quickly I got to know the people that worked there... from stranger to regular in 3 weeks.

It could have just been folks at this Lowes in Lacey WA are extremely helpful
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIKEETC View Post
Your post brings up good observations worth exploring further.

The mall may not be a public space in the literal sense but that does not mean it is not a public space in the figurative sense. It has become, and is, the place for some young people to meet. Therefore, arguably, it is a good (but not best) substitute for a public space. If it was not, then people would have stopped going to the mall to hang out especially when there are other, better options available.

Some people prefer it over other 'better' public places such as the beaches, parks, the mountains/hills for a variety of reasons: security, weather, and convenience. As the beach, park, and other natural environments have not disappeared it can't be because there are no good public spaces (in the literal sense). And people still go to the beach, the park, etc. anyway so it's not like they've been dismissed as options for socializing altogether. If we think about what a lot of public spaces are for - commercial activity - then, arguably, the mall is a natural evolution of the public space.

Although I agree that the modern built environment can be foster anti-social behavior, I don't think that it is the sole reason for that behavior. Technology has played a significant role in this evolution of cities. Because our technology has allowed us to be more remote from each other physically, our urban development reflects this. Of course, as our urban development become less friendly to socializing on a personal level, we seek out the things that we hope will bring us together such as technology (which artificially connects us) and go places where we can see people regardless of the quality of the environment such as the mall.

I think another thing that has made socializing more difficult is the big box store. Nowadays, everything you could practically want can be found under one roof. This makes it easier for one to stay in one building, generally, instead of going outside and to the next store. So you have less 'mixing' of people on public streets, i.e. shoppers, commuters, delivery people, tourists, loiterers, homeless, etc. Because big box stores are private entities (company owned vs. government owned space), they can control who is in them so you don't have the typical mix of people - no homeless, no loiterers, and other individuals that might be considered as undesirable. And, the big box (and indoor mall) are "sanitized" so you don't get the street noise, the loud music, the bad smells, shadows of buildings, various animals life, landscaping, clouds moving across the sky, etc.

What makes the traditional urban core environment so dynamic, in my opinion, is this mix of people, sights, sounds, etc. And it is also, in my opinion, why people hate it. The outdoor mall (redux) I think is an attempt to recreate this while still being sanitized to a certain extent. The outdoor mall in the city I work for, and other similar malls in the region, are very popular. This is much to the detriment of the traditional strip mall and small Mom-and-Pop stores, I should note.

Another impact of big box and mall retail is it has severely affected the social dynamic between shopowner and customer. The type of socializing that would have occured in the Mom-and-Pop store has been diminished. In the past, there could be an interesting dialog occuring between the shopowner and the customer - it was more personal, or so it seemed. These days, the shopowner is a corporation and the person behind the counter is a minimum wage worker with no vested interest in the store. It has become just a transaction.

[the mall - it's actually interesting when you think about it]

I think parks and beaches are hit and miss in terms of the quality of the public space. public parks are okay but they feel kind of dead to me. in autocentric environments they are difficult to get to without a car, especially for young people who can't yet drive or afford a car.

beaches can be good public spaces, if you live in a coastal city preferably located in the southern half of the country. beaches in the north tend to be too cold. especially in winter. in southern california people tend to avoid the beaches in winter. and its usually only the upper income people who can afford to live within walking distance of beaches because coastal real estate tends to be very high.

to me that's the inherent problem with autocentric environments. the accessibility of the public spaces (or any other spaces) is very limited, because you usually need a car to get to them.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
I think parks and beaches are hit and miss in terms of the quality of the public space. public parks are okay but they feel kind of dead to me. in autocentric environments they are difficult to get to without a car, especially for young people who can't yet drive or afford a car.

beaches can be good public spaces, if you live in a coastal city preferably located in the southern half of the country. beaches in the north tend to be too cold. especially in winter. in southern california people tend to avoid the beaches in winter. and its usually only the upper income people who can afford to live within walking distance of beaches because coastal real estate tends to be very high.

to me that's the inherent problem with autocentric environments. the accessibility of the public spaces (or any other spaces) is very limited, because you usually need a car to get to them.
Beaches in the southern half of CA are usually for those who live nearby or for hanging out during Summer and Spring.

Parks are pretty boring to hang out at unless you intend to play a sport like ultimate frisbee, basketball, or soccer with friends.

I live near a college town and a live in a beach town. There's an outlet mall in my town, but I never see kids hang there. Malls usually only have people hanging out if there is a food court and/or a movie theater. Kids in my beach town go surfing, coffee shops, to the movies, or the bowling alley. If you aren't into surfing, then you just have those 3. The beach and downtown meet each other, but really don't see as much people hanging there in Winter or Fall.

The college town always seems to be busy and I feel a strong bus system helps kids have more to do. Except the buses don't get close to where the hiking trails are at, so again hard for kids to get access to public space.

The buses will bring kids to the private amenities like the movie theater, bowling alley, shopping centers, and skate park.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:50 PM
 
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yeah but in suburban areas its not very convenient to take the bus. the service is spotty at best and may not be safe when the sun goes down. buses might be okay in very urban areas like NY or SF where service is a lot better. but usually if you want to go someplace you gotta ask your parents to take you. there's also a strong social stigma towards public transportation so no one wants to be seen taking the bus not even a kid.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:51 AM
 
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We've had 2 malls die in our area with a 3rd on the way out. They died because they were horrible developments from day one. But at the time they were built there were few options. Today, the only people who want to go to those places are scary teens, killing what little chance retailers had anyway.

The good news is that the malls are great sites for sprawl retrofit type projects and will end up being true amenities for the city some day.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
yeah but in suburban areas its not very convenient to take the bus. the service is spotty at best and may not be safe when the sun goes down. buses might be okay in very urban areas like NY or SF where service is a lot better. but usually if you want to go someplace you gotta ask your parents to take you. there's also a strong social stigma towards public transportation so no one wants to be seen taking the bus not even a kid.
Yeah I can see for a young teen to ride the bus at night would be scary. However, in my first year of college I would ride the bus and ride my bike to the mall and the movie theater and bowling alley and to the local hookah bar. I always went with a friend, but yeah I would say after 10pm and if you had to go through a bad area I would not suggest it. My friend and I once saw a guy illegally taking someone's tires, but didn't say or do anything in fear that he and his friend would attack us and they were bigger guys. Of course, we were out way too late and it was dark and not very lit and we should have stayed closer to campus.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:18 PM
 
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Probably worth pointing out that the rise of online shopping has hit all retail real estate pretty hard. Even very nice parts of town have a lot of vacancies here. It only makes sense that the especially expensive mall space would be hit as well. And superfluous trips to the mall are an easy thing to cut out of the budget in today's economy. It's a different world than when we grew up.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:32 PM
 
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It's the oversaturation of malls. You build another one down the road from another, the old one is going to fade out as stores from the former mall will move to the new one.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:21 PM
 
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Yeah I think the days of new shopping centers has come and gone. I think housing is coming back slowly, but I think the retail market is already saturated. I don't see any new malls being built unless a project is approved, construction started, or somewhere in between.

I heard Sear's and JcPenney's have more planned closures coming up too.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:26 PM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
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Originally Posted by Bideshi View Post
Bye-bye America. The barbarians have taken over.
Sounds like what the natives probably said in 1492.
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