ilteris kaplan blog

The shopping mall could probably be called the DNA of our times

July 12, 2007

That’s his final sentence in this interesting article by Robert Misik. Basically he touches good points about malls, how they are transforming our public spaces into private ones, how city center are trying to use this approach as well. It made me think to question what’s a city center really? How did a city center has become a city center? In order to look for answers for those question, one should turn his/her head towards history. I can speculate that the reason a city center has become a city center is because of its the center of trade route. Maybe being close to sea, river or a historical transportation route. Those are things which transforms places into city centers. In that sense, we cannot separate culture of shopping, trade and city centers. What’s happening right now is, big brands taking over those centers instead of local stores. But then, is it really possible to speak about notions like “genuinity” or “locality” with our new stores like McDonalds, Starbucks, etc. The subject is pretty deep not to bee summed in a few sentences.

Nevertheless, the article is pretty interesting if you are interested in urban spaces and consumerism in general.

Some of the highlights of the article could be:

In the mall, one can simulate normal social life around the commodity−form, to which the place owes its existence in the first place.

The experiences offered for consumption must be reconcilable with the images of the brands
represented and with the image of the mall as brand zone. The mall, then, is a pseudo−public space or a gigantic private space.

The values of the shopping malls, their sedation of experience and their controllability, are also becoming the values of the city.

Written by Ilteris Kaplan who still lives and works in New York. Twitter