Tuesday, March 15, 2005

21st Century Stripmalls

With plans for yet another retail "center" or "lifesytle center" as some are called, are these the new strip mall? They seem to be popping up all over the place. They are replacing the stripmall hells on roads like Beechmont, Fields Ertel, and Colerain. In the city we had neighborhood squares that provided a mini-downtown area to find retail and various services. The butcher, coffeehouse, and a funeral home in Mt. Lookout Square are but one example of what made Cincinnati neighborhoods appealing. Are these big-boxish centers trying to create a retailers Disneyworld?

What really sucks about these places is that no one lives there. What makes squares like Hyde Park or Oakley special is that people live on the square or just off the main road and can walk to the shops and restaurants. These centers are just like malls, islands of illusion with faux landscaping, faux streets, and faux life. Plastic town squares for plastic people. You won't see me there. Or, rather you will see me there often, which is not sad for anyone but me. I am a sucker for following crowds.

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