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Shopping Centers & Malls

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The shopping centers and malls are unofficially the heart and soul of societies, the backbone of retail markets, and a social haven for youth everywhere. In the last decades, the shopping center, which started in the US and became a modern retail tendency, has spread worldwide after World War II.

 Today, shopping malls and centers in our life play an enormously significant part. Our mall trips are not limited to only purchasing items. Now we will leave our clothing in the cloakroom and allow the children to play in the watched playground while we spent all day walking through elegant alleys decorated with benches, flowers, and even palms. Today many shopping malls have multiple restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, or even hair-makers, beauty salons, wellness centers, cinemas, and amusement parks that can fulfill a broad range of requirements in a single structure.

 The past of the modern American mall goes back to its opening launching of Southdale and its designer, Victor Gruen. He was an Austrian-Jewish architect who immigrated in 1938 to the United States. His mall was intended to catch part of his life in Europe: the busy city square. The societies of the USA began expanding into their suburbs, and Gruen tried to recreate the atmosphere of a medieval market or Greek agora: a social environment where citizens could gather, share ideas and buy products and services. While shops were an essential component of the architecture, they were definitely not the entire point of the space. Gruen pictured a mall featuring services like treatment facilities, education establishments, and even apartments.

 After his debut in the 1950s, the United States rapidly fell in love with the work of Gruen. Malls helped people to shop without having to travel around the town in warm and convenient environments. They pulled together various stores and services in a common venue, which could scarcely be provided through main streets and towns.

 The popularity of shopping centers and malls only expanded as US suburbs developed — drifting further away from city centers. Since the first instances in the 50s, more than 1,200 shopping centers in the United States shot up. It became an institution, an essential element in the cultural spirit of suburban living.

 Nowadays the shopping centers and malls are fighting for a place in the sun, as just buying things no longer attracts people to make trips to the city’s centers. The customers are looking for experiences that go well beyond traditional shopping. The owners and investors now collaborate on integrating into shopping centers and malls new services – residential, office, gyms, galleries multiplex cinemas, entertainment centers, clubs, beauty salons, hairdressers, spa, bowling alleys, etc. The experts claim that shopping centers in the US will be like Asia. They will be a retail place that is more closely connected and integrated with a neighborhood where you go to and from every day to work or entertain, like in Europe. Today shopping centers and malls tend to look more like Victor Gruen’s original vision.