Wednesday 8 July 2015

mall rats

In an age of abandoned ghost malls, empty main streets and the gutted department store victim to shingles that are not brick-and-mortar, BLDGBlog turns to look at the pioneer of the original venue that offered an embarrassment of choices in architect, marketer and very much an agoraphile (not under the open skies but rather a lover of the Agora, the bustling, gossipy marketplace of Antiquity) by the name of Victor Gruen. Psychologically-speaking, Gruen lends his name to a phenomenon called the Gruen Transfer, when one’s hunter-gatherer instinct is saturated to a point where one’s original objective is, under a type of manipulation if not duress, diverted and expanded. Even though we may no longer physically congregate in the commons to be subjected to such an experience—which may not be confined to shopping but rather may extended to all of our divisive, distracted decisions—the Gruen Transfer easily translates to the online environment, of bargain-hunting, sharing and haranguing that tend to take place concurrently and with one fell-swoop.