America's Oldest Mall Now Houses Micro-Apartments

Wikimedia Commons // Loodog // CC-SA 3.0
Wikimedia Commons // Loodog // CC-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons // Loodog // CC-SA 3.0

The Arcade Providence is America's oldest surviving indoor shopping mall, located in Providence, Rhode Island. Built in 1828, it's designated a National Historic Landmark, but isn't really practical as a shopping center anymore. So what can we do with this building? Well, in 2013 Northeast Collaborative Architects turned it into 48 micro-apartments, along with 17 small stores on the ground floor. The rent is low (starting at $550/month). The only catch? The tiny apartments have proved so popular there's now a waiting list to get one.

In this 15-minute video, we go inside the building, visiting a 225-square-foot apartment and seeing how practical it really is. (Bonus: There's free wifi in the lounge.)

Around the world, shopping malls are changing. Kansas City's Metro North Mall is now bleak and abandoned, but it's being redeveloped as a mixed-use community, including 117,000 square feet of residential units.

The gigantic West Edmonton Mall contains multiple hotels, and has plans to develop apartments as well. In Japan, the Morinomiya Q’s Mall is housed in a former baseball stadium, and is designed with serious workouts in mind. The Destiny USA shopping mall in Syracuse includes miniature golf, go-karts, a rock-climbing gym, and boasts a "vibrant nightlife scene." Is your shopping mall keeping up?

(Image by Loodog, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, used under CC-SA 3.0 license.)