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Malls Affect People...They'Re Designed To

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"Malls affect people. They're designed to."

- William Kowinski

I could not help but to think that the purpose of a shopping mall was for everyone to have one convenient place to buy anything they desired. But, the viewpoints expressed though "Community through Exclusion and Illusion" by George Lewis and "Shopping for American Culture," by James J. Farrell, have led me to believe that the shopping mall also serves as a community center. Another article which captured my attention was Ira Zepp's, "The Shopping Mall as Sacred Place." They each express their ideas of how the shopping mall is not just a place to shop due to it's constantly availability, which has created an ideal environment for social interaction for people of all ages. Farrell focuses mainly on how the shopping mall has grown over the past few decades and then adds his own opinions as to why. Lewis, on the other hand, used many hours of interviews and research, explaining to his audience exactly what the malls have become and who was there is to help it become such a phenomenon while Ira Zepp argues that the structure of the mall has to do with why communities form there. All authors have used very effective strategies, proving that their issues are one in which we, as society, should take seriously.

Farrell catches the reader's attention early on in his essay by his use of solid numbers, which leads us to believe that his argument is serious. Although, this is the only part of his essay with actual number facts, his remaining opinions are interesting as well. Farrell states, "Currently, America's shopping centers (most of which are malls) generate more than a trillion dollars in annual sales...more than half on the nation's retail activity." Just the though of one trillion of anything is an overwhelming amount to think of, especially in reference to how much money is actually spent at the mall per year. The other numbers, such as millions of people being employed and billions of square feet of leasable space add to the extent of what malls are becoming and continue to intrigue the reader. Lewis also states facts, but that of which he has gained through interviews with people who are often at the mall. Farrell used his factual numbers as a way to capture our attention so we would pay attention to his ideas; while Lewis used his factual information as the focal point of his essay. Ira Zepp uses his facts by referring to Eliade and Wheatley, as well as referring to architectural designs. He notes figure 10.3, which says "Park City, Lancaster PA. This mall reflects the many circles of a rose window, the quadrilateral design of a mandala, and the floor plan of a typical cathedral or basilica. The center of this mall in inescapable." With a picture right infront of you, it's hard not to visualize the center in which he is trying to emphasize.

The common tie between both authors is the idea of community and culture in the mall. In "Shopping for American Culture," Farrell says that "...malls help teach us the common sense of culture. If we look closely at malls we will soon be looking inside our own heads."



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