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Photographer Tackles Region's Growing Supply of 'Dead' Malls

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Chicago photographer Katherine Hodges began shooting "dead" malls a few years ago and her series of images from numerous malls in Chicagoland and beyond have been collected in Flickr galleries and, most recently, in the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography's (CCLaP) weekly photographer profile. The issues of vacant malls and the generally dried-up state of suburban commerce have arisen before on Curbed, and is a closely watched trend. Whether or not this trajectory continues, there promises to be ongoing urban-suburban flux when it comes to shopping patterns.

In the meantime, there are some stunning new ghost towns on the urban periphery. Hodges goes the distance to document these places. How does she do it? Well, most of the malls aren't completely dead, just dying. So hassles are kept to a minimum. For the most part these malls are more than 75% vacant, but are still valued by some. "Mall walking is still a useful function of these malls," Hodges tells CCLaP. "Dead malls try to adapt to a changing clientele and will have a number of independent stores and downmarket versions of major mall chains." One of the featured ghost towns is the now-demolished Dixie Square Mall, famed for its appearance in Blues Brothers. Shot last year, this is one featured mall with 100% vacancy. Be sure to visit Hodges' Flickr photostream for the other 200+ images.
·CCLap Photo Feature: Katherine Hodges, "deadmalls" [issuu]