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USA's Destiny? Regulating Space and Creating Community in American Shopping Malls

Lynn A. Staeheli and Don Mitchell
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Lynn A. Staeheli: Institute of Behavioural Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0487, USA,
Don Mitchell: Department of Geography, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA,

Urban Studies, 2006, vol. 43, issue 5-6, 977-992

Abstract: In North American cities, shopping malls are heralded as the new town square. Historically, the town square was a place where diverse people came together and where politics, economics and sociability were intermingled. However, shopping centres, which are separated from the old downtown by distance or design, seem for many people to be the new heart of public and social life. It is argued in this article that the regulation of the spaces of the mall is intended to create 'community' rather than a 'public'. In the process of creating community, the political potential of public space and the quality of publicity created are contorted so as to muffle political opposition and critique in the name of civility. This argument is illustrated through an examination of the Carousel Center Mall in Syracuse, New York.

Date: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:43:y:2006:i:5-6:p:977-992