It’s common for people to view the types of malls I started building in the 1960s — gigantic, air-conditioned, enclosed environments — as twentieth-century American inventions. But malls are neither contemporary nor American. And while it may have seemed that I was embarking on a risky gamble, I was in fact walking in the footsteps of generations of retail pioneers.
Now, that might sound strange coming from me. Along with Victor Gruen, the Viennese architect who designed much-studied retail projects in Detroit and Minneapolis in the 1950s, I am often listed among the early creators of this “new” retail archetype. As Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, wrote in the New Yorker, “If Victor Gruen invented the mall, Alfred Taubman perfected it.”
–by Alfred Taubman