Of nearly 47,000 shopping centers in the United States, about 1,100 are categorized as enclosed malls, Regional malls contain at least two department stores or
anchor stores and, depending on population density, attract consumers from within a 20-mi (32 km) radius. Superregional malls, of which about 350 exist, include at least five department stores and 300 shops and may serve an area of up to a 100-mi (160-km) radius. Generally smaller, open-air strip centers, unlike the larger malls, do not usually feature an indoor concourse, although in the 1980s and 90s the construction of enclosed, or all-weather, minimalls began to accelerate. Open-air shopping centers are typically anchored by large grocery stores. Another distinction among shopping centers is location, namely suburban or downtown. In an attempt to revitalize retail sales in central business districts, many large U.S. cities have built so-called festival-marketplaces, which combine shopping, entertainment, and sightseeing. Examples of such centers include Faneuil Hall in Boston, South Street Seaport in New York City, Harborplace in Baltimore, and Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco.
The world's first megamall was the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada. Long also the world's largest mall at 5.3 million sq ft (493,000 sq m), it was the culmination of the developer's dream of a consumers' and retailers' paradise when it opened (1981?85). The mall contains more than 800 shops, 11 department stores, 110 restaurants, an ice-skating rink, the world's largest indoor water park, 19 movie theaters, a hotel, a chapel, 13 nightclubs, and a replica of Columbus's Santa Maria. The world's largest malls, in Dongguan and Beijing, China, began to open in 2005 and 2004 respectively, though the former is largely without tenants; there are a number of other megamalls in Asia. The largest mall in the United States is the 4.2-million-sq-ft (391,000-sq-m) Mall of America, opened in 1992 in Bloomington, Minn., which features at its center a seven-acre amusement park.
See V. Gruen and L. Smith, Shopping Towns USA: The Planning of Shopping Centers (1960); H. MacKeith, The History and Conservation of Shopping Arcades (1986); J. Garreau, Edge City: Life on the New Frontier (1991); M. Sorkin, ed., Variations on a Theme Park (1992).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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