In Alan Brinkley’s essay The Mall he explores the history of shopping complexes in the United States and gives us insight on the different kinds of complexes. The mall started off as a shopping center. The first shopping center was the Country Club Plaza, opened in Kansas City in 1924. The shopping center soon increased in size and became small “strips.” In 1956, the first enclosed, climate controlled shopping opened in Minneapolis and was called South Dale Shopping Center many cities. The malls spread and began to have similar aspects of the downtowns that they were rapidly displacing, but they were safer. Soon after that malls started being built in many cities. The malls were still increasing in size and they were begging to add movie theaters, video arcades, bowling alleys, restaurants, and hotels. “In cities and towns in every part of America, malls became not just a place for shopping, but often centers of a much-altered community life as well” (Brinkley 115). Malls became like little cities with their own police that were private security forces. For the most part they were able to keep undesirable customers off the premises. Mall evolved into self-contained imitations of cities, minus many of the troubling abrasive features of downtowns. Malls set out to be perfect urban spaces mostly having white middle class women in mind. Many teenagers began to cling to the malls instead of other hang out spots such as street corners, parks and downtown. The mall became a universal shopping center that attracted everyone.
Work Cited Brinkley, Alan. “The Mall”. Patterns for a Purpose. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 115-16. Print. Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People, 2010. Print
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