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Consumption and Space: Inner-City Pedestrian Malls and the Consequences of Changing Consumer Geographies

  • Jan Logemann
Part of the Worlds of Consumption book series (WC)

Abstract

“The regional shopping center came to Europe with a bang,” the New York Times. observed upon the opening of the Main-Taunus Center near Frankfurt in June 1965.1 An earlier headline on the same topic read, “The American way of life has made a new breakthrough in West Germany.”2 Such boisterous claims reflected contemporary perceptions of “Americanization” in the realms of retailing and consumption. There were also more measured voices, however, skeptical about the economic prospects of the new shopping center.3 Furthermore, the overall desirability of shopping centers, especially from the perspective of urban geography and development, seemed far from clear to many West Germans. In December 1966, an advertisement for a guided tour of American cities geared to German city planners and retailing experts underscored this point:

It is an obvious development that our expanding cities are growing increasingly and visibly sick in their centers. The reasons for this are manifold. Because of too much traffic, noise, and bad air, the consumer no longer has any incentive to make the cumbersome trip into the city. Thus, the consumer is about to leave downtown behind. The United States took too long to recognize such trends, which have devastated their city centers, and they are now forced to pursue radical solutions. We would do well to learn from the American experiences.4

Keywords

Shopping Center American City Mass Transit Mass Consumption Consumer Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© The German Historical Institute 2012

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  • Jan Logemann

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