Covering Controversy, Dying Malls – Wednesday’s Roundup

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Covering Controversy
Bill Sprouse interviewed Seth Grossman a few weeks ago about his (now infamous) comments on diversity. Read his piece. It began with an attempt to understand an Agitprop post by Grossman’s discussion group and an interest in figuring out what the Republican candidate for New Jersey’s Second Congressional District stands for.

Dying Malls
“Shoppers arrived Saturday morning and found what resembles a set for a movie about a suburban apocalypse,” writes The Inquirer’s Kevin Riordan about the death rattle of the Burlington Center mall, one of New Jersey’s “worst” and “saddest” failed shopping centers.

The ACUA’s wind farm in Atlantic City – photo by Matt Marcheski.

On our vacation we visited two malls outside of the US. One in my hometown, Havant, which was dead on arrival when built in 1991 (planners, in their infinite wisdom, demolished the center of a town with Saxon and Roman history to make way for the Meridian Centre, which for some years boasted not much more than the local public library). But it seems to have – after 15+ years – finally settled into the landscape as a hub for local services: opticians, a dentist, a school-uniform shop, a hardware-cum-everything store, a dollar store and a cafe. Then in Montreal, we went to a kid-friendly event at the Complexe Desjardins shopping center. It also seemed to be faring pretty well. The kids were both mesmerized by a fountain/light show near the entrance on the ground floor. We speculated about why this mall was flourishing  – maybe it has something to do with the Quebec winters, Bill said, and the need to shop indoors. It’s also worth noting that both the UK and Canadian malls were in the centers of towns. (Suburban malls in the UK and Canada are not immune to the anti-suburbia disease that is killing US malls).

It’s harder to see what the future is for suburban malls like the Burlington Center or even the Hamilton Mall. Revival as office space or even a complete makeover as a mixed-use development including homes might make sense. But surely there will need to be more thought about how to connect these places to South Jersey’s towns…. Anyhow. Get in touch with your thoughts and maybe we can write more about this.

In other news: read this feature about how Brigantine has made its beaches more accessible to wheelchair-users, now is the time to speak up if you don’t want to live near radioactive waste, NJ ranks last among states for cost of doing business, there’s a potential NJ energy battle ahead, and a judge has ruled that James Kauffman’s suicide note is evidence.

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