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Imagine if the Dedham Mall were blown to smithereens
By adamg on Sat, 12/22/2007 - 9:11am
Think anybody would mourn? No, didn't think so. On myDedham, Brian discusses what looks to be an interesting book by an MIT professor who imagines wiping the slate clean at the Dedham Mall, the Burlington Mall and Revere Beach and "transforming" them into modern-day downtowns with not just shopping but housing. Hmm, maybe the Natick Mall was onto something, after all? Right. Let's not get too carried away now.
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Well.....here's one way of looking at it (although I think that
giving all the aid to those suburbs that're the least in need of it is a disgrace) Maybe, just maybe, we'll have fewer people coming here into the city from the suburbs, due to being content to stay, reside in and shop in their own little suburban cocoons. Heh.
what's the dedham mall like these days?
I was in there a few years ago, at the
Radio Shack. It seemed to be about three
quarters shuttered. Is it still operational?
Dedham Mall has been rebuilt
Dedham Mall has been rebuilt into an outside-only plaza type complex. No more kids standing around inside, scaring the old folks. There are definitely a lot more cars in the lot than 4-5 year ago, when it was on life support.
Yes, rebuilt, and totally without charm.....I used to love being able to go inside one store, and be sheltered from the elements....and see neighbors and friends walking from shop to shop. I heard that it was made outside-only because of all the crime. What a shame.
How about Appleby's, what's to become of that now-empty building? Any rumors?
If its not broke...
Regardless of how it feels or looks the retail space works to a large extent. When I cant go without some big box item I head to Dedham. I appreciate that I can get to Lowes, Sears and Stop n' Shop all in the same sprawling plaza. The parking lot is never empty and the bus from Forest Hills is usually full. I think sometimes we fail to see what works because it doesnt fit into our sense of fashion. I have a hard time seeing the Prof's "e-mall" which sounds like some glorified UPS Hub ever becoming so useful to the locals.
save us from the architects.
save us from the architects. These are the same people who brought us Boston City Hall. Too many architects have delusions of grandeur.
Architects seem to be in
Architects seem to be in love with poured concrete and dismal post-industrial modernism... they're trained to love it in school. Too bad they're not taught to think for themselves. I can't tell you how many arguements I've gotten into about this with bright-eyed and bushy-tailed architects in training.
My entire website...
...is about shopping mall history, or (although I hesitate to say it), "preservation," but really more in the sense that it's important to gather photos, memories, etc. of these centers before they go away. As an aside, Adam, if you or anyone reading this happens to have any photos of the old Dedham Mall when it was still enclosed, I would *love* to use them on my site!
FWIW, I think that the current Dedham Mall is kind of a charmless Frankenstein of a big box center, with the way it was disenclosed in phases and faces outward from the center towards parking on the perimeter of the lot. It's kind of a worst of both worlds situation, and I wish they would've either made an attempt to keep it enclosed and renovate the center, or just tear it down completely and start anew. On that front, I kind of think the idea of redeveloping the site with something more interesting is intriguing, but I think it's important that it contains a substantial amount of retail since the SW portion of the city/suburbs is one of the more under-retailed regions around Boston.
I see absolutely no reason to touch the Burlington Mall, however. It's a thriving center that was just expanded--it does just fine the way it is.
Getting back to the point of my website, the idea isn't necessarily to dispell the notion that malls were harmful to downtowns when first constructed 20-50 years ago, but rather to accept the role they *did* play in our cities and towns (and especially in many suburbs, where they functioned as a de facto town center). Many memories were made at these places, and in many cases these malls were the largest or most notable commercial/gathering spaces in these individual towns. That they can be so readily torn down or extensively redeveloped--with so little attention from preservationists, even if just to preserve their *memory* and nothing else--seems incredibly crazy to me. In addition, while malls (and chain stores in general) have grown increasingly homogenized on a national scale, there was a time not very long ago when a fair number of stores we saw in our malls were local or regional. The heyday of the enclosed mall--which ran from the early sixties to the late 80s--was a much different time than today.
with the Dedham Mall when the nearby Legacy Place and Westwood Station are already underway?
Re-imagines, or imagines?