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

conference contribution
posted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Fiona GrayFiona Gray, Matthew Novacevski
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.



Safe Cities Conference (2015 : Melbourne, Vic.)


4 - 18


Association for Sustainability in Business


Melbourne, Vic.

Place of publication

Nerang, Qld.

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E Conference publication; E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2015, Association for Sustainability in Business

Title of proceedings

Proceedings of the Safe Cities Conference 2015

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