Dead Malls: The Steady Decline of American Shopping Centers

By Competitive Enterprise Institute- Re-Blogged From Headline Wealth

The kind of American chain stores and retail formats that dominated the second half of the 20th century have fallen on hard times in the 21st, and commentary on this influential and dislocating trend has become a cottage industry unto itself. Amid coverage in the business press on topics like “the winners and losers of the retail apocalypse” and how “1 in 3 American malls are doomed,” there is even a vibrant and, to many, inexplicable cultural fascination with retail history and dead malls.

The question of how the United States ended up with so many large, enclosed suburban shopping centers built between 1960 and 2000 is an interesting one. Naturally, trends in urban planning and government housing policy played a role. We wouldn’t have had as many suburban malls—or as many suburbs—without the interstate highway system.

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