Unlawful acts, unkind architecture and unhelpful perceptions: a case study of Market Square Mall, Geelong

Gray, Fiona and Novacevski, Matt 2015, Unlawful acts, unkind architecture and unhelpful perceptions: a case study of Market Square Mall, Geelong, in Proceedings of the Safe Cities Conference 2015, Association for Sustainability in Business, Nerang, Qld., pp. 4-18.

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Title Unlawful acts, unkind architecture and unhelpful perceptions: a case study of Market Square Mall, Geelong
Author(s) Gray, Fiona
Novacevski, Matt
Conference name Safe Cities Conference (2015 : Melbourne, Vic.)
Conference location Melbourne, Vic.
Conference dates 8 Jul. 2015
Title of proceedings Proceedings of the Safe Cities Conference 2015
Publication date 2015
Start page 4
End page 18
Publisher Association for Sustainability in Business
Place of publication Nerang, Qld.
Keyword(s) Market Square Mall Geelong
Perceptions of safety
Environmental psychology
Urban design
Public space
Summary On a quiet Sunday afternoon in January 2015, a 12 year old girl was assaulted in Geelong’s Market Square mall. The attack sparked a media furore over what should be done to address the ongoing safety and amenity issues of this intractable public space. The city’s mayor, Cr Darryn Lyons, responded to the situation by declaring the mall a ‘haunt for bogans and scumbags’ and renewed calls for its demolition. Such rhetoric highlights the exclusionary mindset that casts certain types of people as undesirable inhabitants of public spaces. It also bolsters negative public perceptions of the mall. Once formed, such attitudes are difficult to shift, despite an overall improvement in the area’s crime rates over recent years. Poor perceptions are further reinforced by the soulless nature of the mall’s built fabric and weak urban interfaces. Its formal language is one of hostility, not only towards would-be delinquents, but to all people. The space is furnished with cold stainless steel seats, CCTV cameras and limp, pavement water spouts, while its inactive edges consist of loading bays, security grilles and neglected facades. This paper considers how a more inclusive architecture might be utilised to create a kinder, more generous physical environment that reflects the public nature of the space. While not a quick fix, fostering an architecture that encourages a more equitable use of the mall may diminish the sense of fear, anxiety and suspicion that the space currently elicits, tackling the problem at both a structural and social level.
ISBN 9781922232274
Language eng
Field of Research 120103 Architectural History and Theory
Socio Economic Objective 970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
ERA Research output type E Conference publication
Copyright notice ©2015, Association for Sustainability in Business
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30078674

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Architecture and Built Environment
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