We are fascinated with cities and the new cityscapes popping up around the country here at Rouges. We’ve spent quite a bit of time talking about how cities are changing and the movement of people in and out of them. However, one feature that is unique to many American cities if the pedestrian walking mall. This type of mall was created in downtown areas as a reaction to the rise of car culture after WWII. The idea was that it would create a pleasant space for people to walk, eat, and shop like an open-air version of the enclosed malls that were being built at the time.
However, the pedestrian mall was not the success that it was hailed to be. As it turns out, parking cars was the chief problem. With no ability to drive up to the shops, people had to park and walk and for many shoppers, it was simply too much trouble. Many cities abandoned this idea in the early 1980s and cars were reintroduced. Many of these spaces became areas to put mass transit too. But many walking malls survived and they are now making a comeback as cities seek to create more walkable and dense spaces.
So did the pedestrian mall fail or is it still the answer to the walkable city in the United States?