Hypnotic Photos Of Dying Malls, And Where To Learn About Them

Justin Pot 18-09-2014

All across the planet, shopping malls are being abandoned. Blame online shopping, blame the economy or blame gas prices – whatever the cause, there’s probably a dead mall near you.


Naturally, the Internet has documented this phenomenon — and it’s fascinating. Seriously: I could stare at these photos all day, wondering what they might mean. Here’s where to find those pictures of, and information about, dead malls and other abandoned buildings. Maybe you’d prefer funny cat Tumblrs 10 Of The Best Funny Cat Tumblrs To Fulfil Your Feline Fetish It's time for me to come out as a cat lover. I cannot hold it in any longer, I love the little furballs, especially my own little furball of joy that cuddles up to me... Read More , but if there’s something about massive structures being abandoned that speaks to you I suggest you keep scrolling. Documenting Decline

For over 15 years users have contributed to this site, which compiles information and photos about dead malls all across the United States. You can use a map to find out about dead malls near you, or just check out the most recent updates.

I’d recommend starting with a structure near you, then exploring the Dead Mall Stories for photos (there’s a camera icon beside posts with pictures). Put simply, this is the place to start.

The Dead Malls Group on Flickr: Photographic Evidence

Reading about the decline of the mall is one thing. Seeing it is quite another. This Flickr is overwhelming.



Since 2006 a variety of photographers have contributed to this group, which collects photos of dead malls. The result is a never-ending album documenting decline. Keep scrolling and you’ll keep seeing more abandoned shopping centres, from all over the planet.

Wikipedia (Of Course)

Adding Wikipedia to any list like this almost feels like cheating, but you really shouldn’t overlook this resource. The Dead mall offers a good overview, but for some reason there’s no list of dead malls offered. Still, there are a few articles about individual malls I think you should check out.

For example: do you remember that scene in Blues Brothers, where they drove through a mall? Of course you do.

Turns out that was filmed in Dixie Square Mall, just one year after it shut down. The surprising thing: the mall stood, empty and abandoned, for 30 years after that.



How does this happen?

And it’s not just America. Do you remember reading about how the world’s biggest mall is in China? You’re thinking of the New South China Mall, which has been more-or-less empty since it was built in 2005.



The location is apparently partly to blame, but whatever happened this mall just can’t seem to find enough tenants to justify its existence.

I’m sure there are many more fascinating nuggets like this on Wikipedia – the list of demolished malls in the United States is a starting point. Please share anything you find in the article below.

Urban Exploration Resource

I didn’t know this, but down the street from my apartment an abandoned mall sat as recently as 2004. It’s since been redeveloped, but not before a number of urban explorers snuck in and took pictures.



You can find photo galleries of other malls – along with ghost towns, abandoned factories and more than a few underground tunnels – at the Urban Exploration Resource. The site, frequented by many who love to explore the hidden places all around us, makes most galleries viewable only to active members. But even if you don’t want to get involved, there’s a lot here to explore. Use the map to find interesting things near you.

If there’s just something about finding and exploring abandoned places 4 Great Websites to Find Abandoned Places & Old Ghost Towns Read More , UER is worth a look.

Urban Exploration On Reddit

If all this isn’t enough for you, Reddit’s got you covered. The Urban Exploration subreddit is a constant stream of photos and videos from people checking out seldom-scene structures all over the planet. If you’ve read this entire article so far, there’s really no reason to not subscribe.

What Does This All Mean?

If you want to explore more photos like this, I recommend checking out this abandoned park at Disney World. They shut down and neglected an entire water park, leaving everything just where it was – even employee of the month plaques.

It’s hard to explain photos like these. Without effort your mind invents stories about the structures, projecting meaning onto them. It all feels so wasteful, and all you can do is try to figure out how a building humans took the time to build ended up being abandoned.

Or maybe I just like them because I’m constantly preparing for the apocalypse 3 Sites To Fully Prepare You For The Coming Apocalypse Whatever your flavor of apocalypse may be, it's always a good idea to remind yourself that it might happen, so you really should ask yourself, "What am I going to do?" Get ready to grab... Read More .

So I want to know: what stories of abandoned buildings do you have? Let’s talk about structures near you, or anything of note you’ve found online, in the comments below.

Image Credit: Nicholas Eckhart, Will Fisher , Dixie Square Mall photo courtesy A Syn

Explore more about: Photography, Web Trends.

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  1. Those Were The Days
    September 20, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    Far as I see it they're a shrine to the illusory and temporary glitter fantasy of 1980s excess. The churches of Western capitalism now look like abandoned factories of Soviet drudgery. Remember the "Valley Girl" phenomenon (Frank Zappa's daughter recorded a song about shopping with her teenage friends) that spurred a veritable explosion of popularity of major malls during the eighties heyday of artificially-inflated prosperity? All of it was eventually undercut once the economic powers that be decided to remove the rug out from under everyone to the point where more and more people are buying used or secondhand or not even buying at all anymore. Gone are the "Dynasty" playgrounds of middle-class high-fashion; gone are the electronics meccas of the "Revenge of the Nerds" era (RadioShack is on life support now, undoubtedly with Best Buy and Staples soon to follow); gone are the teenage social outlets of a bygone halcyon time when teenagers actually, um, y'know, like, talked to each other with their mouths and voices and not sat idly with their iDevices, communicating superficially with pseudo-friends in an arguably unnatural manner of "txtspk" and "emoji." You really think about it deep enough, and they're a sign of the end of western civilization. On one hand, a decline of mass-centralized commercialism; on the other, a decline of human meeting spaces where people would make dates at the food court and rush through the aisles for last-minute holiday gifts. I'm already sorry I opened this article because even the previews are making me a little verklempt. Or as the meme generation says, "giving me the feels."

  2. Saikat B
    September 19, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Nice idea :)

    If the building has been deemed safe. I guess legal issues are the only thing that stops them from being redeveloped. Property developers probably wait for the prices to go up, and factor in the cost of demolition. It IS a waste.

  3. Jerome Masson
    September 19, 2014 at 9:34 am

    The first thing I think when I see these photos is of course the waste of energy and resources used to build these structures... what a shame!
    I then think to a very fun way to "recycle" them: PAINTBALL!!! :-D