NPR Staff | NPR

New transit-oriented, mixed-use walkable downtowns, like this one in Rockville, Md., are often replacing indoor shopping malls and strip malls that once defined suburban America. (Courtesy of WDG Architecture)
New transit-oriented, mixed-use walkable downtowns, like this one in Rockville, Md., are often replacing indoor shopping malls and strip malls that once defined suburban America. (Courtesy of WDG Architecture)

Chances are your local mall is hurting. There are roughly 1,200 enclosed malls in the U.S. and only about a third of them are doing well.

Online shopping, the recession and demographic shifts are some of the factors killing shopping malls. And as these changes leave behind huge concrete carcasses, they’re being “reimagined” into everything from medical centers to hockey rinks.

Ellen Dunham-Jones, a professor of architecture and urban design at Georgia Institute of Technology, has been following dead and dying malls in both urban and suburban landscapes. She speaks with NPR’s Steve Inskeep.

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

What are malls being turned into?

Usually when a mall dies, there’s a reason — there was too much competition from other malls or something — so it’s not always the best move to try to replace it with retail. We find all sorts of interesting things. They’re being turned into office space — Google Glass happens to now be in a former dead mall. They’re being turned into medical centers, churches, schools and universities, civic functions. Some of them have played a role in disaster recovery. Read more