Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Dayton Mall's Messy Vitality

Not the mall itself, but the area around it. It’s cool to bash the Dayton Mall area as ugly, congested, sprawl, blah, blah, blah, and its becoming cool to make subtle racial/social class innuendo about the clientele (“Dayton Mall is ghetto”) since this the only mall area to have transit connections to the city.

However, the place is really pretty rich in detail as a suburban shopping district, being more a true downtown than other mall areas, due to the mix of businesses here and peculiar way the place built-out. One can find pool halls, girly joints, bars, a drive-through, ethnic restaurants and food places, and so forth in the area. There’s a bit more “space” for non-standard, non-chain things than at first glance, and for a wider variety of shoppers.

A big contrast is the much newer Fairfield Commons area, where its all very planned and sanitized, no messy vitality there at all. Superficially similar these mall districts couldn’t be more different. One doesn’t here nowhere near the bashing of this mall district, but the implications of Fairfield Commons area is much more sinister, especially the way the poor are excluded due to lack of transit.

Daytonology will be blogging in-depth on the two mall areas over the summer, exploring their different characteristics.