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The Signs of Shopping:: 

The Signs of Shopping: The Shopping Mall

Slide2: 

Works Cited Norton, Anne. “The Signs of Shopping.” Signs of Life in the USA. Sonia Masic, Jack Soloman, eds. New York: Bedford St. Martin’s, 2000, 62-68. Anne Norton is a professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. The essay, “The Signs of Shopping,” is excepted from her book The Republic of Signs, published in 1993. The essay is a formal semiotic reading of aspects of the culture of the shopping mall and is intended for an academic audience.

Slide3: 

 Questions:  1. Free association:  From the reading, brainstorm all of the words you think of with the word shopping mall.  Then brainstorm all of the words associated with Pop Culture.  Find a relationship between the two categories and draw a conclusion statement.  2. What is Norton’s main argument in her essay?  3. Norton refers to the home shopping network in her paper. What does this say in terms of what the home represents?

Slide4: 

Minneapolis,Mall of America

Slide12: 

Transit Center Garage at the Mall of America

Slide24: 

The Boulevard Mall: Tonawanda, New York

Slide26: 

The Ithaca Commons. Ithaca, New York

Slide27: 

The Center Ithaca atrium

Slide32: 

No analysis can stand apart from the literal amazement we all feel any day in strolling through or buying in a shopping mall.  The shopping center keeps us awed, amused and off-centre  Moving into an age of pre-planned and regulated environments  Ambiguous or contradictory form – planned and closed, its effects are of unplanned openness

Slide33: 

Through a suburban form, it recreates or represents the city life that it replaces and excludes; within its artificial enclosure, it imitates the natural outdoors.  Visionary freedom in enclosure - a place where wild birds can soar (Eaton Center in Toronto)  Gibian calls these “cathedrals of consumption”  The growth seems unpredictable and uncontrolled

Slide34: 

The shopping center first tended to take root in vacant spots, out of the way places, the preferred areas that developers call open field.  It gives new meaning to the word center:   “Beyond town boundaries, outside town government control or taxation, open-field centers began as part of a radical relocation of the center of American life: the move to the suburbs, the ascendance of the periphery”.

Slide35: 

But in the late 1970’s, a surprise development came about. Mall development has begun moving in a different direction. Because outlying regions were becoming over saturated and the old town centers were being drained of resources, the malls reversed their movement, and returned to revitalize dormant areas of our cities.

Slide36: 

The mall as a migrant form.  Malls tap into a deep public hunger for agora-like spaces that can serve as settings for community interaction.   By the late 1980’s, 2000 malls were being built each year.  There are now more enclosed malls in the U.S. than cities, colleges, hospitals, hotels or movie theatres

Slide37: 

William Kowinski “Malls have more than financial significance; they are becoming a way of life”   Typical Mall Visit 1960 – Twenty Minutes Today - Three Hours   Victor Gruen developed a highly structured method for creating malls called “fool-proof money machines”

Slide38: 

Let’s discuss Mall layout – White Oaks Mall Masonville Mall   Malls, like the automobile, have become too powerful, and as a result, “towns disappear” (Pelli)   In this sense, a mall is a new sort of town with one owner, one planner, and a one-stop economy. It is “as close to a Disney pleasure dome as most of its shoppers will ever get”  

The Eaton Center: 

The Eaton Center Let’s discuss Mall layout – White Oaks Mall Masonville Mall  Malls, like the automobile, have become too powerful, and as a result, “towns disappear” (Pelli)  In this sense, a mall is a new sort of town with one owner, one planner, and a one-stop economy. It is “as close to a Disney pleasure dome as most of its shoppers will ever get” The idea of the constructed natural park.  

Slide40: 

The birds help to accentuate the fountains (expressing our power to harness natural force) And the trees and grottoes (shoppers as recreational hikers) and the open sky.  The mall is a virtual space that creates the illusion of nature  Victor Gruen: “The underlying purpose of the enclosed mall is to make people feel that they are outdoors”  Skylights, extensive waterworks, tropical plants, sidewalk cafes (included with umbrellas)

The Modern Mall: 

The Modern Mall The tricky part of a mall is that it is an illusion of continuity built out of separate parts

Five Phases of Malls : 

Five Phases of Malls   The Parking Lot (1920-30) -several stores sharing a single parking lot - usually contains a grocery store

Five Phases of Malls: 

Five Phases of Malls 2. The Large Anchor Department Store (1950-60) - small stores around the anchor store -       - basic tendency toward self-containment and introversion

Five Phases of Malls: 

3. The Town Centre – Main Street -         the denial of structure -         the market town, trees and nature -         the idea of the rustic and archaic -         village garden some of these designs still flourish Five Phases of Malls

Five Phases of Malls: 

Five Phases of Malls 4. The Sealed-Off Self Contained Structure -         “Malls aren’t part of the community. They are the community” -         1960’s -         The introduction of the two level mall (adds bridges, elevators, escalators) A second nature with temperature control

Five Phases of Malls: 

Five Phases of Malls 5. Suburbia to City - The self-contained economy (cinemas, food courts)

Slide47: 

The main goal of any mall is continual flow  William Kowinski “The mall … is TV that you walk around in”  Moving and looking have become so integral that buying becomes incidental (the introduction of the impulse buy)  Combination of shopping and Spectacle