Americans need room to buy stuff Americans don’t need.
The article’s author, Rob Walker, quoted some statistics from a book called “Retrofitting Suburbia,” by Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson. The statistics were somehow shocking but not at all surprising. In 1986, the United States had about 15 square feet of retail space per person in shopping centers. By 2003, that figure had increased by a third to 20 square feet. “The next countries on the list are Canada (13 square feet per person) and Australia (6.5 square feet).” The European country with the most retail space per person in shopping centers is Sweden, of course, at 3 square feet per person.
Interesting note: As of October 2008, Portland had the country’s fourth lowest level of retail space in shopping centers per person among major American cities, according to to this report with the ironic title from CoStar Advisors. At 14.43 square feet person (which is still huge), Portland comes in behind New York City (1.66 square feet), Long Island (9.3 square feet), and San Francisco (12.25 square feet).… Read the rest