"Some analysts estimate that the number of so-called "dead malls" -- centers debilitated by anemic sales and high vacancy rates -- will swell to more than 100 by the end of this year [up from 40 in 2006]."The authors add that this weakening, while exacerbated by the economic downturn, has roots in another industry trend: the shift away from enclosed malls toward open air "power centers," outdoor complexes anchored by stand-alone big box stores. Indeed Hudson and O'Connell state that an enclosed mall hasn't been built in the U.S. since 2006.
As traditional malls lose tenants, the results can be profound for their surrounding communities: "In suburbs and small towns, malls often are the only major public spaces and the safest venues for teenagers to shop, hang out and seek part-time work."
Naturally, the eerie emptiness of a once thriving urban space collects writers and photographer to document all that ennui. The WSJ cites Deadmalls.com as one site where their images and reflections may be found.
Read the article: Recession Turns Malls Into Ghost Towns