This Is What American Shopping Malls Looked Like in 1989

The year was 1989. It was the same year that The Little Mermaid came out, the Berlin Wall came down, Game Boy made its debut, the first GPS satellite was launched into orbit, and a gallon of gas only cost 97 cents. Back then, MTV actually played music videos and despite it being the year that the Internet was invented, there was no such thing as Facebook.

It was also the year that Michael Galinsky, then a 20-year-old student, traveled throughout the U.S. and took photographs inside American shopping malls. The images he captured give us a glimpse into the not-so-distant past, a time when the air-conditioned mall was at the epicenter of our booming consumer culture. The pictures you see in the slideshow above were taken from his book, Malls Across America.

These days, consumers have every single retail store imaginable just a mouse click away.

The mall reached its peak popularity in 1990, when the country opened 19 of them. There has not been a new enclosed mall built since 2006, and according to Robin Lewis, author of The New Rules of Retail, within the next 10 years half of all malls will close of be converted into non-retail space.

Malls just can’t compete with online shopping or the decline of consumer affluence. The fact is, they no longer meet the public’s needs.

So, if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic and want to take a trip back in time, check out Galinsky‘s images featured above, or purchase his book here.

All Images: Michael Galinsky
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