Given this podcast is dropping on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, there is a solid chance that you or a loved one will spend some time at a mall in the next week. Shopping at climate controlled temples of consumer capitalism is, after all, the point of the holiday. As you elbow your fellow shopper in the face for the last Shiba Inu Squshmellow, it’s probably good to consider how we got here.
In this week’s podcast, Ray Dubicki talks with author Alexandra Lange about her book “Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside history of the Mall.” From a design point of view, the mall is a postwar evolutionary leap that combines so many invisible technologies it’s hard to chronicle. Lange deftly covers them as well as the personalities that brought the ideas together, the mall’s place in our cities, and its future in the face of e-commerce and pandemic. On the way, there are zombies, Clueless, and plenty of buttery pretzel goodness.
Meet Me by the Fountain is also the next selection for The Urbanist Book Club. Alexandra Lange will be joining The Book Club at 6pm on January 17 to discuss the book. Order two copies and at least one person on your gift list is taken care of. Details for the Book Club are available here or skip to the RSVP form.
We want to know your thoughts, opinions, and preferred mall walking beverage (Orange Julius FOREVER). Reach out to us at podcast [at] theurbanist.org.
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Ray Dubicki is a stay-at-home dad and parent-on-call for taking care of general school and neighborhood tasks around Ballard. This lets him see how urbanism works (or doesn’t) during the hours most people are locked in their office. He is an attorney and urbanist by training, with soup-to-nuts planning experience from code enforcement to university development to writing zoning ordinances. He enjoys using PowerPoint, but only because it’s no longer a weekly obligation.