Shopping Malls

Erfinder der Shopping Mall ist Victor Gruen, geboren 1903 als Victor David Grünbaum in Wien. Als Jude ist er vor den Nationalsozialisten in die USA geflohen, dann 1973 als bekannter Architekt nach Wien zurückgekehrt. Als Sozialdemokrat sah er in der Shopping Mall die Rettung vor der Suburbanisierung Amerikas. Er wollte mit der Mall-Idee neue Zentren städtischer Lebenskultur errichten. 1954 wurde die erste überdachte und vollklimatisierte Mall im Vorort Edina, südlich von Minneapol eingeweiht. Sie liegt inzwischen nur zehn Autominuten von der größten geschlossenen Mall der USA entfernt der " Mall of America" ( 420 000 qm2 Verkaufsfläche) Gruen war mit der konkreten Realität der Mall weniger zufrieden, er nannte sie " Ausgeburten von Scheußlichkeiten".

Rezept für ein Shopping Center : "Take 100 acres of ideally shaped flat land. Surround same by 500,000 consumers who have no access whatever to any other shopping facilities. Prepare the land and cover the central portion with 1,000,000 square feet of buildings. Fill with first-rate merchandisers who will sell superior wares at alluringly low prices. Trim the whole on the outside with 10,000 parking spaces and be sure to make same accessible over first-rate under-used highways from all directions. Finish up by decorating with some potted plants, miscellaneous flower beds, a little sculpture, and serve sizzling hot to the consumer."

Victor Gruen >Recipe for the ideal Shopping Center <, 1963

Vermutungen über die sinnvolle Ausdehnung einer Shopping Mall

In order to "empirically" prove the benefits of the untapped consumer energy that air conditioning would liberate, Victor Gruen creates a chart that lists the distance and time "which the average healthy human being is willing to walk, under varying environmental circumstances":

1. In a highly attractive, completely weatherprotected and artificially climatized environment : 20 minutes 5,000 feet
2. In a highly attractive environment in which the sidewalks are protected from sunshine and rain : 10 minutes 2,500 feet
3. In an attractive but not weather-protected area during periods of inclement weather:
5 minutes 1,250 feet
4. In an unattractive environment (parking lot, garage, traffic-congested streets):
2 minutes 600 feet

 >Erklärung einer Shopping Mall zum öffentlichen Raum< (Auszug aus einem Urteil des Obersten Gerichtshofes von New Jersy (1994))

"Shopping malls have replaced the parks and squares that were traditionally the home of free speech'... The economic lifeblood once found downtown has moved to suburban shopping centers, which have substantially displaced the downtown business districts as the centers of commercial and social activity... The predominant characteristic of the normal use of these properties is its allinclusiveness. Found at these malls are most of the uses and activities citizens engage in outside their homes... Within and without the enclosures are not only stores of every kind and size, but large open spaces available to the public and suitable for numerous uses. There is space to roam, to sit down and to talk."

New Jersy Supreme Court Chief Justice R.N. Wilentz (1994) From a ruling, declaring a shopping mall a form of puplic space.