Sociologists have observed a new phenomenon. The changing nature of American society, they say, has turned malls, once simply convenient arrangements of shops, into the nation's new town squares -- places where people take their morning fast-walks, where high school choirs perform during the holidays, where teen-agers hang out and where neighbors socialize, have dinner, talk politics. Places, in short, that reflect the collective character of a community.
The opening of the new Towson Town Center this week marks, of course, an economic achievement for Baltimore County, particularly in the midst of a recession. But it is more than that.