Saturday, April 16, 2011

Back To The Future: A City Planner's Perspective (Part Two.)

This is the second in a series of posts on the Back To The Future franchise through the eyes of a city planning nerd. The frame-grabs are copyright Universal Studios, and are used here on the basis of fair use for commentary purposes.

The Naming of Malls Is A Difficult Matter...

Doc Brown uses the parking lot of the local shopping mall as the testing ground for his new time machine. He tells us that thirty years ago, this was all farmland as far as the eye could see. The farmer was intent on growing pine trees--hence the name of Twin Pines Mall.

When Marty accidentally jumps the Delorean to 1955, he encounters said farmer, complete with shotgun. In his haste to get out with his skin intact, he runs over one of a pair of young pine trees at the front gate. Later, when Marty finally makes it back to 1985, we see that the mall has changed a bit:

It's a somewhat cynical rule of thumb in the development industry that you name developments after whatever they tore down to build it. Hence the endless series of subdivisions called Royal Oaks or Wildflower Estates or Convent Glen without a tree, flower or nun in sight.

To be continued...


  1. the neighbourhood where i live is called elmvale(comes with a strip mall also called elmvale--creativity abounds!), which of course is valley of the elms. but, archaically vale can mean farewell or good-bye, so fittingly, when they built my subdivision, they said goodbye elms.

  2. IT wouldn't be pronounced the same. "-vale" in Latin would be "wahl - leh".