Speaking of how to cut tax to maximise economic growth, how do you design shopping areas to keep everyone shopping? As some Troppodillians will know, the Viennese architect Victor Gruen gave us the shopping mall.
My Dad thought he may have been a relative. But I don’t think he ever looked him up and found out.
The first shopping mall, the Southdale Centre in Edina, Minnesota, was the brainchild of an Austrian immigrant, Victor Gruen, in 1956. Gruen used an aviary, orchestra, hanging garden and artificial trees to keep people shopping. “More people – for more hours,” he wrote in 1973, “means cash registers ringing more often and for longer periods.”
Gruen hoped to revitalise American towns by re-creating the traditional Viennese plaza. Ironically, the opposite happened. The mall, as the US State Department website notes, has become “a way of life in America” but is widely credited with destroying the physical and social fabric of American cities.