Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer

The shopping mall as an emergent public space in Palermo

Abstract

As Doreen Massey (2005) pointed out, space matters. Does public space still matter today? Since the early seventies, several studies have explored public space as an emerging, and in many ways innovative, universe of actors, spatiality and socio-territorial practices which invaded the public spheres of our cities (Habermas, 1979; Rossi, 2008). However, ‘public space’ may have a wide variety of interpretations which relate to a semantic overlapping between a sensitive material sphere -The Space- and an intangible metaphorical sphere -The Public- (Bianchini, 1990; Crosta, 2000; Hajer and Reijndorp, 2002; Harvey, 2006; Low and Smith, 2006; Rossi, 2008). As Crosta (2000) reveals, a new dichotomy stems from those inseparable elements of public space: material space, conceived as the product of the relationship between territory and its society, and public, conceived as the result of the relationship between a society and its country. This means that material space and public sphere become the cognitive domains and functions within which public space takes shape. From a disciplinary point of view, this duality, as Smith and Low (2006) emphasised, produced two different scientific literatures: first a series of studies, developed in the philosophical and political context, which investigates an a-spatial public sphere, while a second trend almost exclusively relates to the spatial dimension, including disciplines such as geography, urban planning and anthropology. Therefore, together with the constitutive uncertainty of the planning discipline, which has been thoroughly discussed in urban literature (Faludi, 1986; 1987), an additional uncertainty must be taken into account, proceeding from the polysemy of the term, and from the co-existence of different approaches.

From a critical reflection on the concept of public space as it is now used by urban scholars and city managers, this paper suggests that public space should not be considered a ‘product’ (defined through quantitative and objective parameters), but rather as a ‘construct’ (defined through its qualitative and relational dimension) and a ‘process’ (thus referring to the performative and deconstructional theories inspired by Jacques Derrida). Public space will therefore be related to governance effects, considering the social interactions between institutional and non-institutional actors and practices (Ferraro, 1990; Crosta, 2000). Much has been written on the role of public space in contemporary societies, and many scholars agree that today public space is a controversial and arguably critical concept. It may actually seem that even the basic idea of what is or should be ‘public’ is experiencing a deep and troublesome reconsideration, as new forms of privatisation slowly but firmly erode its fundaments. Within this conceptual framework, this paper aims to critically analyse the idea of public space which exists today, with particular attention to the idea of public space as a shopping mall. Characteristics of the Italian way of using shopping malls, and their social and spatial consequences, are investigated and analysed through a case study in Palermo.

Published:
Pages:85 to 98
Section: Society
How to Cite
Giampino, A., Picone, M. and Schilleci, F. (2017) “The shopping mall as an emergent public space in Palermo”, The Journal of Public Space, 2(2), pp. 85-98. doi: 10.5204/jps.v2i2.95.

Downloads

Total Abstract Views: 124  Total PDF Downloads: 90

Author Biographies

Annalisa Giampino is an urban scholar and architect. She holds a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning (Co-Tutorship thesis Program between University of Palermo and Universidad Politécnica de Valencia). She has been Post-Doctoral Researcher at University of Palermo, Department of Architecture. As post doc, has been engaged in a research project on insurgent planning to right to housing in Southern European countries, with a particular attention to the engagement strategies of vulnerable groups in decision making
Marco Picone is Associate Professor of Urban Geography in the Department of Architecture at the University of Palermo. Currently, he holds courses in urban geography and social geography. His main research interests revolve around two topics: urban and social geography, and popular geopolitics. He has published
articles and essays on Palermo and its neighborhoods and on the geopolitical representation of new cinematic media.
University of Palermo
Italy Italy
Filippo Schilleci is an architect and landscape planner, graduated in the School of Architecture of Palermo. He holds a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning and is currently Full Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Palermo, where he teaches Analysis of City and Region Laboratory at the School of Planning and Planning at the School of Architecture.
He is coordinator of the PhD Programme in Architecture, Arts and Planning of the University of Palermo and member of the International experts committee of the doctorate programme on “Engineering of Materials, Structures and Terrain: Sustainable Construction” of the University of Alicante (Spain).
He is also deeply involved in the activities of the University: as Erasmus Coordinator with European University and as delegate for International Mobility for Polytechnic School of the University of Palermo.
His principal research interests revolve around the relationship between free spaces in urban areas and around the themes of the ecological-environmental continuity.
He develops his researches in collaboration with italian and foreigners university, as Escuela Politecnica de Madrid, Universidad de Alicante and Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena.
He has published articles and essays on the identity of the territory and the ecological planning on national and international texts and magazines.

References

Arendt H. (1988), Vita activa. La condizione umana, Bompiani, Milano.

Bianchini F. (1990), “The crisis of urban public social life in Britain”, Planning Practice and Research, 5, 2: 4-8.

Bobbio N. (1985), Stato, governo, società, Einaudi, Torino.

Boyer M. C. (1992), Cities for Sale: Merchandising History at South Street Seaport, in Sorkin M., Ed., Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of the Public Space, Hill and Wang, New York.

Boltansky L., Thévenot L. (1991), De la justification, Gallimard, Paris.

Bonafede G. e Picone M. (2012), “Luoghi d’interazione e cittadinanza attiva: il caso di Mazara del Vallo”, PLANUM, 2: 1-5.

Clarke J., Gewirtz S. and McLaughlin, E., eds. (2000), New Managerialism, New Welfare?, Sage, London.

Corbetta P. (1999), Metodologia e tecniche della ricerca sociale, il Mulino, Bologna.

Crosta P.L. (2000), “Società e territorio, al plurale. Lo “spazio pubblico” – quale bene pubblico – come esito eventuale dell’interazione sociale”, Foedus, 1: 40-53.

Crouch C., Eder K. and Tambini D., eds. (2001), Citizenship, Market and the State, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Curioni, D. (2010) Ghetto, periferia o centro commerciale? Un’analisi socio-territoriale dello Zen all’epoca di Zamparini. Thesis, Faculty of Architecture, University of Palermo (supervisor M. Picone).

Davis M. (1992), Fortress Los Angeles: The Militarization of Urban Space, in Sorkin M. (ed.), Variation on a theme park: the new American cities and the end of the public space, Hill & Wang, New York.

Dewey J. (1927), The Public and its Problems, Henry Holt and Company, New York.

Fava, F. (2008) Lo ZEN di Palermo. Antropologia dell’esclusione. Milano: FrancoAngeli.

Filion P. (1996), “Metropolitan Planning Objectives and Implementation Constraints: Planning in a Post-Fordist and Postmodern Age”, Environment and Planning A, 28: 1637-1660.

Geddes M. and Le Galés P. (2001), Local Partnerships, Welfare Regimes and Local Governace, in Geddes M. and Benington J., eds., Local Partnerships and Social Exclusion in the European Union. New Forms of Local Social Governance?, Routledge, London.

Giampino A. e Todaro V. (2009), “Aspetti critici nell’intervento pubblico-privato per la periferia della città di Palermo”, PLANUM. Journal of Urbanism, 1-9.

Giampino A. (2012), Ai margini delle politiche sociali. Il disagio abitativo tra nuovi contesti e nuovi soggetti, in Pinzello I. (ed.), Verso una nuova politica per la casa, FrancoAngeli, Milano.

Graham S., Marvin S. (2001), Splintering Urbanism. Networked infrastructures, technological mobilities and the urban condition. Routledge, London.

Guarrasi, V. (2011) La città cosmopolita. Palermo: Palumbo.

Habermas J. (1962), Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit. Untershungen zu einer Kategorie der bürgrlichen Gesellschaft, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main (trad. it.: Storia e critica dell’opinione pubblica, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 2001).

Hajer M., Reijndorp A. (2002), In Search of the New Public Domain, Nai Publishers, Rotterdam.

Harvey D. (2006), The political economy of public space, in Low S., Smith N., Eds., The politics of Public Space, Routledge, London.

Inzerillo S.M. (1984), Urbanistica e società negli ultimi duecento anni a Palermo, in Quaderno dell'Istituto di Urbanistica della Facoltà di Architettura di Palermo, Palermo.

Janowitz M. (1967), Introduction, in Park R., Burgess E. and McKenzie R., The City, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Kohn P. (2004), Brave New Neighborhoods: The Privatization of Public Space, Routledge, New York e Londra.

Loda M., Hinz M., a cura di (2011), Lo Spazio Pubblico Urbano. Teorie, progetti e pratiche in un confronto internazionale, Pacini, Pisa.

Lo Piccolo F., Giampino A., Todaro V. (2014), Palerme, ville sans domicile. Droit au logement : entre informalité et arrangements politiques, in AA.VV, Les coopératives d’habitants, des outils pour l’abondance. Repenser le logement abordable dans la cité du xxi siècle, Chairecoop, Lione.

Low S., Smith N., Eds. (2006), The politics of Public Space, Routledge, London.

Macchi S. (2001), “Contexts of interaction for plural city politics: hybrid forums and cosmopolitics”, Plurimondi, 5: 51-62.

Magatti M., a cura di (2007), La città abbandonata. Dove sono e come cambiano le periferie italiane, Caritas Italiana-ilMulino, Bologna.

Mitchell D. (1995), “The end of public space? People’s Park definition of the public and democracy”, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 85:108-133.

Picone M. (2006), Interculturalità in azione: il progetto ZEN.it, in Marengo M., a cura di, La dimensione locale. Esperienze (multidisciplinari) di ricerca e questioni metodologiche, Aracne, Roma.

Picone M. (2008), Essere Zen oggi, in Badami A., Picone M. e Schilleci F., a cura di, Città nell’emergenza. Progettare e costruire tra Gibellina e lo ZEN, Palumbo, Palermo.

Picone M. (2011), “Lo ZEN e l’arte della narrazione dei luoghi”, Rivista Geografica Italiana, 118, 4: 675-690.

Picone M. (2012a), Pratiche ZEN: decostruzione e ricostruzione di un “luogo comune” a Palermo, in Amato F., a cura di, Spazio e società. Geografie, pratiche, interazioni, Alfredo Guida Editore, Napoli.

Picone M. (2012b), Musica dissonante per lo ZEN, in Sciascia A., Periferie e città contemporanea. Progetti per i quartieri Borgo Ulivia e Zen a Palermo, Edizioni Caracol, Palermo.

Picone M. (2012c), Scienze sociali e progetto di territorio, in Schilleci F., a cura di, Ambiente ed ecologia. Per una nuova visone del progetto territoriale, FrancoAngeli, Milano.

Rossi U. (2008), “La politica dello spazio pubblico nella città molteplice”, Rivista Geografica Italiana, 115, 4: 427-458.

Rossi U. e Vanolo A. (2010), Geografia politica urbana, Laterza, Roma-Bari.

Salzano E. (2010), La città, la società, gli spazi pubblici, in Bottini F., a cura di, Spazio pubblico. Declino, difesa, riconquista, Ediesse, Roma.

Sennet R. (1977), The Fall of Public Man, Knopf, New York.

Scandurra E. (1999), Il passaggio dalla città moderna a quella contemporanea, in AA.VV., a cura di, I futuri della città. Tesi a confronto, FrancoAngeli, Milano.

Sclavi M. (2003), Arte di ascoltare e mondi possibili. Come si esce dalle cornici di cui siamo parte, Bruno Mondadori, Milano.

Sciascia A. (2003), Tra le modernità dell’architettura. La questione del quartiere ZEN 2 di Palermo, L’Epos, Palermo.

Sciascia A. (2012), Periferie e città contemporanea. Progetti per i quartieri Borgo Ulivia e Zen a Palermo, Edizioni Caracol, Palermo.

Sorkin M., Ed. (1992), Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of the Public Space, Hill and Wang, New York.

Tulumello S. (2012), Fearscapes. Sentimenti di paura, retoriche sulla sicurezza e pianificazione urbana nella città contemporanea, tesi di dottorato di ricerca in Pianificazione Urbana e Territoriale (XXIII ciclo), Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo.

Zukin S. (1995), The cultures of cities, Blackwell, Cambridge, MA, and Oxford.
Open Access Journal
ISSN 2206-9658