the bon marche at northgate circa 1956, via mallsofamerica.blogspot.com
- Emily Badger at the Atlantic pontificates that “The Shopping Mall Turns 60 (and Prepares to Retire).” Malls are actually 62 years old, counting from Seattle’s own Northgate. Badger’s timeline dates from urban planner Victor Gruen, who published a prototype concept in an architectural magazine two years after Northgate opened. (The one thing Gruen’s design had but Northgate hadn’t (yet) was a roof on the central plaza.) Badger is right, though, that malls have passed their peak as American institutions. The last new one opened in ’06; big-box stores and strip malls have stolen a lot of their business and clout.
- After years of speculation, MSNBC.com is now wholly owned by Comcast/NBC Universal. It’s immediately been renamed NBCNews.com. Microsoft sold NBC its half of the online joint venture, having divested its interest in the same-named cable channel back in ’05. NBC claims the site’s Redmond-based staff will stay in the Seattle area. [Update: 100 techies will stay here, but around 80 editorial jobs could move to New York.] Microsoft claims it will start its own news site later this year.
- Meanwhile, a recently-unearthed NBC documentary about the deep south during the civil rights struggles reminds us that, at the time, many white southerners actually believed that black people liked being segregated.
- Trend-analyst Richard Florida never said the rise of the “creative class” would be a panacea for the professional caste, or for the cities that hope to attract this caste.
- A hockey fan site ponders what the heck Seattle’s anti-arena factions are thinking:
There aren’t many cities that would seriously consider turning their backs on an investment of nearly $300 million in private capital within their boundaries, particularly during trying economic times.
- Celeste Holm, 1917-2012: The Oscar-winning film star and venerable stage actress had been in financial straits in her latter years. She was estranged from her family after she married a 41-year-old opera singer when she was 87. One of those family members was son Theodor Holm Nelson, the computing visionary who coined the term “hypertext” and inspired much of the conceptual underpinning of this whole WWW thang.