My first impressions of retail architecture

When I was a kid, I lived overseas. My exposure to the marketplace was at the street and store level: in Milan and Hong Kong, the majority of retail stores fronted on a street. In Hong Kong, there were very few malls, aside from China Products, a fantastic bazaar for consumer goods made in the PRC, and the mall found alongside the Kowloon cruise ship terminal.

Which is why one particular scene from the Blues Brothers left an impression: the car chase through the mall.

As Elwood and Jake Blues careened through the suburban indoor mall, all that ran through my head was: "all those stores, and indoors as well?"

"Disco pants and haircuts!"

"New Oldsmobiles are in early this year!"

Twenty seven years after their adventure, the Dixie Square Mall in suburban Chicago remains empty. And for some reason, even in Canada, people prefer pedestrian malls with outdoor areas.

Well, except in February, when it's cold.

In