Many studies have examined issues of youth and public spaces; however, less attention has been devoted to seniors and their navigation and experience of community spaces, particularly in relation to their sense of inclusion in, or exclusion from, consumptive spaces. This paper explores the everyday experiences of seniors in four Australian shopping centres, two in Melbourne and two in Hobart. Based on a survey of 260 seniors (the majority aged 75 years or more), respondents’ perceptions of this environment are considered, including the reasons for visiting the shopping centre, and the challenges of accessing and negotiating the shopping centre ‘terrain’. The research findings indicate that how seniors engage with and navigate the shopping centre is influenced not only by the nature of the space itself, but also by their personal historical and cultural experiences. Where and why seniors choose to ‘hang out’ in shopping centres has implications for research into the social landscapes of ageing, along with public policy and shopping centre procedures. There is a need to consider both the social and physical well-being of older people in the shopping centre locus, and to take positive steps towards improving and enhancing their experience in an environment that is often used to provide a range of experiences that go beyond mere ‘retail therapy’.
Field of Research
160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment 160805 Social Change
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