USA's destiny? Regulating space and creating community in American shopping malls

Lynn A. Staeheli, Don Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-992
Number of pages16
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - May 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


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