Tuesday, September 21, 2004

There's A Lot Of Room In This Mall

Check out this website to see what has become of the mall in The Blues Brothers. The abandonment of urban spaces, particularly in the rust belt is extremely interesting and sad. What happens to these spaces in places of urban redevelopment is equally interesting. A couple of examples:

The site of the Homestead steel plant in Pittsburgh is now a mall. How they cleaned it up and were able to redevelop is probably really interesting in itself. But in a great post-modern landscape moment, the parking lot of the mall has a bunch of smokestacks stuck in the pavement to remind consumers of what used to happen there. So before you go to The Gap, you can ponder on the rise of industrial America.

Haymarket Square in Chicago, home of the Haymarket Riot of May 1, 1886 (the origin of May Day as a workers' holiday) was long forgotten about by the Chicago establishment. Or perhaps overlooked is a better word. But lately this traditionally working class neighborhood has been gentrified and local residents have been pushing for a memorial to the incident in order to improve their property values. No need to comment on the irony of this.