What do you think of when you hear the word “mall”? The hustle and bustle of a food court? The scent of Orange Julius and Auntie Anne’s pretzels wafting through the air? Rows and rows of shelves at big-box bookstores? The intense fragrance of walking past a department store perfume counter? The bright and cheery façade of a Claire’s jewelry store? Or the intimidating, dark punk schemes of a Hot Topic?
Today, guest host Richelle Wilson dives into all of that nostalgia and much more with Alexandra Lange, author of the new book Meet Me by the Fountain, which traces the history of how malls grew up alongside suburbia and have shaped American culture for the past seventy years.
Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic. She is a columnist for Bloomberg CityLab and author of several books, including The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids (Bloomsbury, 2018) and most recently Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall (Bloomsbury, 2022).