Monday, December 8, 2008

White Christmas Shopping

I don’t usually think of architecture as pernicious*. But I may have been wrong.

I stopped by a new shopping mall today. It was another of those malls designed to look like a town. Most of the stores had fake windows on the second floors. It was just like an urban landscape: shops on the ground floor, residences on the upper floors.

Except, unlike a real town, there were no minorities visible. No homeless. No “undesirables.” It was an idealized shopping town for middle-and-upper-class white people.

If I were in charge, no malls would be permitted to build fake upper floors. If a store has second-floor windows, there would have to be rental apartments behind them. Places people could live, even those who can't afford to shop at those stores.

And every Wall-Mart would have a homeless shelter next to it.

But that’s just me.

*With the possible exception of Brutalism. If there was ever a style in need of re-branding, it’s Brutalism. I wonder if the wordsmith who turned the Estate Tax into the Death Tax is still available?

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