Spatial Patterning of Malls/Shopping Centers in the United States

Authors: Gang Xu*, Department of Geography & Sustainable Planning, Grand Valley State University, Wanxiao Sun*, Department of Geography & Sustainable Planning, Grand Valley State University
Topics: Business Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Urban Geography
Keywords: Mall/shopping center, spatial clustering, GIS, spatial analysis, metropolitan restructuring
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Grand Ballroom C, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The massive development of shopping centers in the suburbs since the 1950s has drastically transformed the retail landscape of the United States. Deconcentration of retail businesses has played a major role in the spatial restructuring of U.S. metropolitan areas. Knowledge of the spatial and temporal patterns in the development of shopping centers can contribute to our understanding of the contemporary spatial organization of U.S. metropolitan areas. This paper first examines the major “waves” and characteristics of mall/shopping center developments in the United States since the 1950s. Using spatial statistics techniques and a large data set, the paper then analyzes the spatial structures of shopping centers at the national, metropolitan and intra-metropolitan levels, focusing particularly on the patterns of spatial clustering of shopping centers and the spatial relations among shopping centers and between shopping centers and the central city. To shed light on how shopping centers are related to the geographic distribution of population, this research utilizes census tract-level demographic data and presents results from case studies of three U.S. metropolitan areas. Theoretical and policy issues are also discussed.

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