Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Is DCUSA a "mall"? Does it matter?

The Christmas shopping season is almost upon us, and I've seen a few news articles and blog posts lately that refer to DCUSA as a "mall" (here's a couple older ones from WUSA and an architectural firm, for example.)  I've always called it a shopping center, and I've also seen it called a complex, like in this Greater Greater Washington post. Calling it a mall doesn't seem accurate, and I also just don't like that term for it. It gives me the creeps.

"Mall" reminds me of being a high school kid in the suburbs and going to the mall with some friends to waste time: wandering around, drinking an Orange Julius and playing in the arcade or something. (That said, I wish there were an Orange Julius at DCUSA.) But in turn, those memories and the term "mall" makes me wonder if Columbia Heights is getting to be less of a city and more of a suburb, with the negative connotations that brings. (Of course there are positive things about the 'burbs too, but you don't worry about those.)

However, I'd argue it's not a mall. Take the Georgetown Mall, for example. Technically called the Shops at Georgetown Park, it's mostly inward facing, with the majority of the stores only accessible from inside. That's partially true with DCUSA, with Target, Best Buy and Bed Bath and Beyond, but for the most part it's street-facing. I'm glad it is too, it would stink to have bare walls on 14th and Irving. DCUSA also doesn't have traditional mall features like a food court, benches and kiosks. Plus it's just smaller, with around a dozen stores, most of which are on the street only.

So I guess that makes me feel a bit better. We aren't Germantown just yet.

Photo by Mr. T in DC

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

You don't always have to take such a silly approach. Instead of jumping on terms, spend sometime understanding the overall design.

William

Andrew W said...

Would you care to educate us, Mr. Jordan?

Anonymous said...

DCUSA is purposely designed as a Mall with most shops entered from the streets. It was basically a design requirement. As is ground floor retail also on the streets for housing projects. The CH Public Realm provides the element that was supposed to tie it all together. The approach is recognized nationally and internationally. It be even better except of the unethical politics of CM Graham and a particularly greedy developer or two and residents who don't like to do any homework, just comment of stuff in an effort to be cut.

William

Anonymous said...

Once again Mr. Jordan proves to be nothing but a asinine joy killer -- go home and play with rocks in your back yard ..... I like the New Columbia Heights Blog and the whimsical nature of the blogs/author ... this is not the Wash Post or the NY Times ... geeee lighten up -- stop taking life so seriously ... you have got to be the loneliness person in the world -- with your attitudes on different Co Hgts blogs you have got to have no friends. ... keep up the good work New Columbia Heights! (is there anyway to block Mr. Jordan from posting on here?)

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the dreaded wine bar - Allegro - Donatelli conspiracy, Mr. Jordan, ha ha ha!

Anonymous said...

I think the point about shopping malls is that they are supposed to be a "safe" replica of the urban or village experience: park once and shop all over. Why do you think Georgetown Park is generally deserted? It's a fake urban experience -- complete with fake people -- tucked inside a real one.

DCUSA is not a shopping mall: Columbia Heights is.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes in looking at things through the eyes of the consumerism of Urban Disney world view so much is missed. The idea for Columbia Heights is say, clean, living public spaces as a center of community. Shopping, recreation, civic gatherings, community building, business opportunities, services and more are integral to the design and implementation.

One of the biggest obstacles to building the CH Public Realm and its complete implementation is/was Donatelli Development. They've cost the community millions. One of the reasons streetscape improvements don't reach to Spring Rd. was interference from Allegro's developer. Of course the project failed and is basically a piece of crap.

I was unfortunately correct on the Wine Bar, whose owner's feel they don't have to follow the process above the law so to speak. Attempted to get the ANC to forward an illegal resolution.

William

Anonymous said...

Oy, Jordan's ranting is like stream-of-consciousness poety. Public realm, Donatelli, Councilmember Graham, Allegro, wine bar, community, parks, greedy, developers, gentrification.

Anonymous said...

I actually would give myself a very small pat on the back for advocating on behalf of the community I live in. Instead of being one who is defending the parasitic behavior of Donatelli Development as a good thing.

William

Andrew W said...

William,

Who is doing that? And if you have all this info, why don't you use it somehow? Contact the Post or something.

Anonymous said...

I don't care about the Post. If members of this community won't inform themselves and act in their collective best interests it doesn't much matter. I don't post to attention from the press.

Donatelli, did what he could to behind the scenes kill the CH Public Realm Plan. But some residents got informed spoke up and up help get the project done.

If my post get only one person to do a little homework, even to prove me wrong, I'm happy.

William

Anonymous said...

William, your illogical, paranoid posts on various blogs and listservs over the years have only served to harden people's opinions against what you preach. The more you ramble on, the deeper you undermine your positions. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

That's their choice. But your comment is a cop-out because many of the folk you describe are just looking for an excuse to be selfish and clique focused.

Which is why most comments like yours are "Anonymous". You are full of it.

William

Andrew W said...

William, I don't want to get in an argument, but one could argue that you aren't taking your own advice to do something about the neighborhood. I'm saying that because clearly you've done a lot of research into this -- why not put it to use rather than just telling somebody else to prove you wrong?

Anonymous said...

No argument. The pays attention to squeaky wheels, active, organized and informed citizens. Post to this blog every blue moon is hardly the extent of my involvement, I think even you know this. I post here as a small attempt to counter some of the mis-education that comes from this and other blogs.

As I think you are also aware that no matter what or how I post I will be attacked.