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“That’s the Only Place Where You Can Hang Out”: Urban Young People and the Space of the Mall

Citation

Vanderbeck, Robert M. & Johnson, James H., Jr. (2000). "That's the Only Place Where You Can Hang Out": Urban Young People and the Space of the Mall. Urban Geography, 21(1), 5-25.

Abstract

Consumption spaces such as shopping malls have become central parts of many young people's geographical imaginations and social worlds. In this paper, we utilize qualitative evidence to examine the role of the shopping mall in the lives of young people (ages 12 to 13) living in a set of economically distressed inner-city neighborhoods in a southern city. We argue that understanding these young people's preference for the space of the mall requires an approach that takes into account aspects of their local context, including their perception of neighborhood violence and resource availability. Our findings suggest that many of these young
people's expressed preferences for the mall reflect relatively mainstream desires, such as to be safe, to interact with other young people, and to feel a sense of possibility and choice, which they cannot successfully enact in other spaces. These findings can inform recent debates regarding young people's use of "public" spaces.

URL

https://doi.org/10.2747/0272-3638.21.1.5

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2000

Journal Title

Urban Geography

Author(s)

Vanderbeck, Robert M.
Johnson, James H., Jr.