COME ON IN AND BROWSE A BIT...

Welcome to the SHOPPING MALL MUSEUM website...a companion to the MALL HALL OF FAME, also on BLOGGER. As you may already be aware, The MALL HALL OF FAME is very time-specific in focus, covering "Only In America" malls built, within the Fifty States, between 1946 and 1979.

The MALL MUSEUM, on the other hand, has a MUCH WIDER focus. Retail complexes from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries are exhibited...as are those from Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia.
As you may -or may not- notice, local vernacular and spellings are used where possible. However, EVERYTHING here will be indicated in United States-style standard square footage and / or mileage figures. 

We don't do metric...lol.

Non-original photos and images used on this site
are given source credit,
with links often provided to the original websites.
Hopefully, this will be sufficient to cover their usage.

This is a completely non-commercial endeavor.
If the use of any photo or graphic is not desired
-and you are the owner-
Please post a comment. I will delete it or them.


The following SHOPPING MALL MUSEUM exhibit is an exploration of America's New Deal-era garden (or "green" ) suburbs, with special emphasis on their innovative central city shopping centers. These served as a model for our nation's phenomenal post-world war II suburbanization.


The green movement, the Roosevelt Administration's urban experiment, was the brainchild of Rexford Guy Tugwell, an economist and member of FDR's "Brain Trust" of advisors. Tugwell was instrumental in the formation of the Resettlement Administration, in April 1935, which would move struggling urban and rural families into new "low income" federal planned communities.


All units in the Resettlement Administration's green suburbs were originally rentals. Most shopping center businesses were co-operatives...which were owned and operated by citizens. 


In order for his family to be eligible for a home in one of America's up-and-coming green communities, a father would have to earn between $1,440 and $2,200 annually. Wives were not allowed to work. Moreover, minorities were excluded. 

Green suburbs were a political football from the moment that ground was broken...or even before. Conservatives derided them as a socialist -or even communist- endeavor. The program was ruled unconstitutional by a court case decided in May 1936. 
  
Rex Tugwell resigned his position as RA head in December 1936. The Resettlement Administration was absorbed into the Department of Agriculture in January 1937. A new bureau was formed, the Farm Security Administration.

Although deemed unconstitutional, three green communities were completed. They would be owned and operated by the federal government until the passage of a Congressional bill in 1949, which made provisions for all three cities to be sold to private enterprise. In a majority of cases, tenants ended up buying the units that they had been living in.

America's "Greenbelt Towns" of the 1930s came about as an extrapolation of urban planning concepts put forward by Great Britain's Sir Ebenezer Howard. In his book "To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform" (1898), the bucolic utopian "Garden City" was envisaged.
Graphic from "Greenbelt Towns" brochure / US Government Printing Office / 1936


According to Howard, people should be residing in communities that combined the best of town and country life. Green suburbs, surrounded by a permanent belt of forested land, would eschew many of the pitfalls of city life, such as poverty, overcrowding, low wages, inadequate sanitation, pollution and disease. In many ways, these trend-setting communities espoused the tenets of today's "New Urbanism" movement. 
Photo from Wikipedia / "Marnanel"


Letchworth, the first of Ebenezer Howard's Garden Cities, was started -in Hertfordshire County, Great Britain- in 1903. Across the pond, Radburn, New Jersey, America's prototype garden suburb, broke ground in 1929. Seen above is the Radburn Plaza Building; commercial center of the Bergen County planned city.
Photo from Library of Congress / Carl Mydans

Under the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the federal government got involved in urban planning. One hundred newly-built green suburbs were originally envisaged. The competition was narrowed to twenty-five urban areas and, then, to just four. The final selections were Greenbelt, Maryland {outside Washington, DC}, Greenhills, Ohio {outside Cincinnati}, Greendale, Wisconsin {outside Milwaukee} and Greenbrook, New Jersey {outside New York City}. In mid-1936, the Greenbrook plan was dropped.


Rexford G. Tugwell, who was instrumental in the creation of America's green suburbs. Browbeaten by his conservative detractors, he resigned from his federal post in late 1936.
Photo from Wikipedia 


A photo-op groundbreaking was held in June 1935 at the Greenbelt, Maryland site. Land clearing was soon underway, with actual construction commencing in October 1935.
Photo from Library of Congress / Elmer Johnson

The Fed's Regional Plan for the Greenbelt project. The city would occupy a 3,400 acre site in Maryland's Prince George's County. There would be eight hundred and eighty-five residential units housing over three thousand residents.
Graphic from Library of Congress / 1936


The Regional Plan for Greenhills envisaged a community in Ohio's Hamilton County. It would be comprised of 5,930 acres, with six hundred and seventy-six housing units. The population of the fully-occupied city was two thousand six hundred.
Graphic from Library of Congress / 1936


Greendale's Regional Plan foresaw a Milwaukee County community sited on 3,400 acres and featuring five hundred and seventy-two residential units. When finished, the garden suburb boasted a population of two thousand eight hundred.
Graphic from Library of Congress / 1936