Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

99PI: Meet Us by the Fountain

It was a ton of fun to talk to Roman Mars about all things mall, and this episode provides a great primer on my book.

Like it or not, no teenager in America in the 1980s could avoid the gravitational pull of the mall, not even author Alexandra Lange. In her new book, Lange writes about how malls were conceptually born out of a lack of space for people to convene in American suburbs. Despite the fact indoor shopping malls are no longer in their heyday, malls have not gone away completely. Lange writes about the history of mall culture, and how the mall became a ubiquitous part of American life.

So are malls responsible for killing the downtown? Where did the rise of big entertainment malls come from? What will happen to the mall in a post-pandemic world? And what happens when malls begin to serve as de facto public spaces? To help us answer these questions, we spoke with Alexandra Lange, design critic and longtime friend of the show. Her book, Meet Me by the Fountain, is great, and is out today!