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The Idea File

The Death and Afterlife of the Mall

Nov 21, 2019 | 12 videos
Video by The Atlantic

The shopping mall has had a dramatic fall from grace. Once the veritable town square and a cornerstone of American consumerism, malls have aged into oblivion, replaced by cheaper and more convenient alternatives. Today, these sprawling complexes are mostly ghost towns—dilapidated vestiges of their former selves. In a new episode of The Idea File, staff writers Jim and Deb Fallows explore the phenomenon of the dead mall, and its emerging afterlife.


For more, read Jim’s piece, “What Happened to Abandoned Malls?

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Authors: Sophia Myszkowski, Catherine Spangler

About This Series

Deconstructing the way we live, with The Atlantic's writers