Towson goes uptown

October 17, 1991

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.

Towson Town Center -- slick, upscale and meticulously designed -- is a far cry from the old, two-story structure whose most daring architectural feature was a fountain that sometimes worked. Like its new mall, Towson has been transformed -- from a traditional suburban enclave into a busy, diverse and somewhat urbane center. And Towson Town Center -- rising up on the horizon just north of the small, old shops on York Road -- sends a clear message that not only is the county changing fast, but so are its needs.

To consumers, Towson Town Center is a bonanza that most shoppers would be hard pressed to negotiate in a single day. To government officials it ought to represent a larger challenge: to muster the political acumen and urban planning skills that will preserve the quality of life in Towson, and for that matter, elsewhere in the county, as the megalopolis slowly spreads.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.