A Sunny Saturday at Southlake Mall

Anyone interested in places and spaces should read Anne-Laure’s May 5th opinion piece on her GeoPickmeup blog. It’s about public space. I’m always very interested in public space, which means a spot designed for people to gather, like Central Park in New York City or, here in Hammond…gee, I don’t know of any gathering places in Hammond, so…maybe Central Park in Griffith, Centennial Park in Munster, or if we must cross the state line, Millennium Park in Chicago. I would argue that public space is NOT dead, because I have been to the aforementioned parks recently on sunny days. 

I have also personally come to think of public space as exactly what Anne-Laure seems to not appreciate: money-making places. I love most public money-making places: cinemas, ball parks, that big place to stand outside the Bellagio to watch the fountains… There is however one money-making public space that I can’t stand: the mall. Today I made my first trip to Southlake since moving home 11 months ago, because I wanted to shop at a specific store whose doors have closed at River Oaks. Plus Southlake, although 12 miles away whereas River Oaks is only 4 miles, is in Indiana where sales tax is lower. Inside of a mall, I always feel like a cow in a herd. Today, there were about umpteen gajillion people at the mall, suggesting that people still like to get out of their houses and see other people. 

I was looking for a suit for potential interviews, because my current suit screams, “I’m especially fashionably prepared for a mid-winter interview!” If 2013-2014 was any indication, that current suit is a safe bet seven months out of a Northwest Indiana year. However, after one scary 93-degree day, it seems like spring may have sprung around here. I failed to find a suit I liked at Southlake Mall or anywhere, but look for my next region-themed geography post on the subject of exurbia. 

In the meantime, for more on public space, author Sharon Zukin’s 2008 piece on “The American Model” is an interesting read, as well. 


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