The problem with malls right now is that mall management has the idea that getting people into a shopping frenzy will make them more money. They don't want people socializing, sitting on benches, sipping a soda that only cost a dollar and enjoying the company of friends, based on the thought that it doesn't generate enough revenue.
Now, there is something to that. But by McDonaldizing the process of shopping, the mall fails in the role of "community center". Most people, at some point or another, go to the local mall. Many on a fairly regular basis. Some very often. A few abstain. Now, if the mall approaches the idea of a gathering of people as a way of making money, not just the shopping. What about mall services that promote socialization? Electronic message boards stationed outside of key locations, where people can leave messages for a very small fee. The messages can be censored of course. I think the arcade should come out of some corner of the mall, and that video game machines should be dispersed through the concourses- and run on quaters. Do you know that the arcade in Evil-gates won't even let you in on a friday or saturday night unless you buy five bucks of tokens as cover?
People should be encouraged to loiter. Local bands can pay a small fee to rent a stage and give concerts, and the mall can take a percentage.
And you know what? The mall should be owned, at least in part, by the shopkeepers.