Here in the "Golden Triangle" west of Boston, the proposed Natick Mall expansion is planned as a more-of-the-same-old enclosed shopping mall experience, sited in a particularly pedestrian unappealing way surrounded, of course, by a vast sea of asphalt. Even existing retailers in the space are complaining that the plan to build a separate addition is pedestrian-hostile, offering a potentially dangerous and certainly off-putting way of getting from the new to old shopping areas.
Elsewhere in America, though, the big trend is away from enclosed malls in favor of so-called "lifestyle centers" -- an open-air shopping experience that tries to create a town-square-like "sense of place" and ambiance that encourages strolling and lingering.
Owners of Virginia's Spotsylvania Mall, for example, are mulling renovation plans that call for an open-air addition with "new shops, as well as restaurants, a hotel and an 18-screen movie theater," according to the Free Lance-Star. (There's a major movie theater right next to the Natick Mall, down Flutie Pass. It is within walking distance. NO ONE would walk there from the mall because of the dangerous road crossings and hideously unappealing route.)
Another new lifestyle center planned for Arkansas has already attracted Saks as an anchor tennant, says the Benton County Record. "Pleasant Crossing ... is being planned as an open-air village with pedestrian-friendly shops and restaurants surrounding a 7-acre lake."
Why are we still getting mid-20th-century plans here?