At one time the US was home to …2,000 [malls:] climate-controlled, multi-level, windowless and flanked on each end by well-lit department stores. There are just over 1,000 indoor American malls alive today, with analysts putting the number of mall closures within the next five years at between 20 and 25 percent.
,,,Yang’s policy would fund struggling malls with matching grants and tax incentives to the tune of $6 billion. Investing in and revitalizing dead malls doesn’t just mean bringing retail back; he’s also a big believer in transforming and repurposing malls into “[o]ffices, churches, indoor recreation spaces, anything we can do to keep these spaces vital and positive is an enormous win for the surrounding community,” reads his campaign site. Mall closures, Yang tweeted last month, “have a disastrous effect on local property values.”
…Abandoned malls are what the Congress for the New Urbanism coined “greyfields,” as reported by CityLab, for the seas of parking lots that surround them. Yang’s campaign pledge to transform vacant malls into multi-purpose spaces is right in line with New Urbanism’s architectural and urban planning movement to create mixed-use, “live, work, shop, play” centers, …(ICSC) found that 78 percent of US adults would consider living in such a center.
A more flexible version of this plan, one that doesn’t necessarily envision “high-end” mixed use, would be very interesting.