2022 Theme: SHOPPING MALLS
2021 Theme: TRAVEL & LEISURE
2020 Theme: 70s TURN 50
Docomomo US Advocacy Theme 2022: Shopping Malls
As the population shift stretched out into the suburbs, it transformed the idea of commerce. Shopping malls became a staple of American society after the Second World War, providing convenient access to domestic needs while offering social and cultural components. Early malls were small, open-air groupings of commercial enterprises with a small parking lot out front. But the idea rapidly expanded with the creation of the fully enclosed malls in Edina, Minnesota: Southdale Center (1956), and in Southfield, Michigan: Northland Center (open air mall opened in 1954 and enclosed in 1975), among many others. This new take on suburban commercial structures began the trend for these sprawling structures that became ubiquitous within our built fabric and only continued to morph and change over the course of the 20th century.
Today, shopping malls are at a critical point of flux.
Younger generations are choosing cities over suburbs, consumers purchase goods online in the comfort of their homes, and the COVID-19 pandemic challenges our health and comfort of being around large groups of people. As part of this pivot away from these massive structures, it is critical that we begin to analyze what is left, what is historic and what we should save, who malls were built for, and their role in promoting both segregation and assimilation in American society.
For our thematic year on shopping malls, Docomomo US will partner with leading scholars, our twenty regional chapters, and other organizations to create a conversation around the depth and breadth of this typology, Docomomo US will incorporate this research throughout our 2022 programming including:
Shopping Malls in Minnesota
Docomomo US/MN Board member Bobak Ha'Eri has pulled together notable shopping malls from across the state. How many have you been to? Are we missing your favorite childhood mall? Send us a note firstname.lastname@example.org
How can you participate?
Docomomo US is launching “Mallitecture & Memories” a crowdsourcing campaign to gather data and collect stories of midcentury shopping malls across the country. Although current trends are pivoting away from the traditional use of shopping malls, these massive structures and the landscapes they occupy deserve a closer look. “It is critical that we begin to analyze what is left, what is historic, what we should save, for whom malls were built, and their role in promoting both segregation and assimilation in American society,” explained Docomomo US Executive Director Liz Waytkus.
Docomomo US is asking individuals to participate in this crowdsourcing campaign by submitting basic historical information as well as personal memories of malls they are familiar with. This data will populate on the map below.