For where your mall is, there will your heart be also

Lincoln Mall is the heart of Miami Beach. Lincoln in Miami Beach is a thriving, outdoor pedestrian friendly mall unlike most malls. People meet, socialize, paint, shop, laugh and dine. That’s why it is vital that it retains its local flavor, history and not become just another outdoor shopping mall with chain stores devoid of any personality or warmth.

Malls are more than a place to shop. Malls are a reflection of the heart of a city. When Americans migrated to the suburbs, the enclosed mall emerged as the new meeting place; the new “Town Center.” In the past, the “Town Center” was where shopping, socializing, and most business transactions took place.

Lincoln Mall

The hustle and bustle of Lincoln Mall.

Enclosed malls were centralized meeting places. Young people gathered, socialized and met new people. It was a cohesive and safe place to meet. As American life became more frantic, dysfunctional and fragmented, the strip malls re-emerged and a new mall developed “The Town Center.” Outdoor shopping became the vogue. Now shoppers could easily and quickly visit the store of their choice and leave. Socializing became secondary if not nonexistence at the new “Town Center.” Sure you could hang out with a friend, but casual meetings were no longer the norm.

I remember in Jacksonville, when Regency Mall was the place to go. Their motto was ”all roads lead to Regency Mall.” A couple of years ago I visited the mall and many of the stores and areas in the mall were boarded up. Now there are homes in foreclosure and many boarded-up and abandoned homes in the Regency area. St. Johns “Town Center” is the new place to be and the area surrounding it is thriving. Malls are more than places for shopping they are a mirror of the community.

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