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The Evolution Of The American Mall

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Natee Meepian
/
Adobe Stock

Shopping malls in the U.S. are facing an uphill battle. As online sales have boomed over the past decade, traditional, brick and mortar stores have seen declining profits while rents have risen.

But in many ways, this is just the latest chapter of evolving consumer habits and trends. And perhaps there is no better example of this progression than Bayshore Town Center in Glendale. It was first built in 1954 as an outdoor strip mall and then, like many malls in the '60s and '70s, it transformed into an indoor, self-enclosed mall. 

By the 2000s, the mall underwent another change, creating a town center to accommodate shopping trends. Now, like many American malls, the shopping center is evolving once again, this time by creating more public and accessible spaces. 

"I think a big thing that developers and mall operators have a better appreciation for, that they didn’t have even 10 years ago, is public space. And you really see that vividly illustrated with Bayshore," says Tom Daykin, a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as producer for Lake Effect. Most recently, she was a director and producer for The Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm, Chicago Public Radio.