Analysis and evaluation of the status of the Malls as a public space (Case Study: Tehran Palladium Shopping Center)

Document Type : Article extracted From phd dissertation


1 Ph.D. Student of Urban Planning Tehran Art University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor of Urban Planning Tehran Art University, Tehran, Iran



Public spaces in contemporary cities are laid under pressure from capitalism and privatization. These forces, along with globalization and modernization, have led to major changes in the processes of production and management of public spaces. These changes generally follow a certain direction, which is the same as moving away from direct government involvement and increasing the role of private sector in the provision and management of public spaces. The transformation of commercial spaces to public spaces is one of the privatization-related trends in which modern business spaces such as malls and shopping centers provide more public access by creating multifunctional tasks, and increasingly becoming public space more and more.  Therefore, the purpose of this study is to analyze and evaluate the status of malls as a type of public space, which was done by a case study of palladium shopping center in the region 1 of Tehran. In this regard, the present study seeks to answer the following question: "What are the properties of malls in Tehran as a public space, and what are the realities of studying their functional dimensions with emphasis on the palladium complex?" The research method was qualitative based on a library study, interview and dialogue with 32 users of palladium complex who were selected by Purposeful sampling method. The sampling stop point was theoretical saturation and repetition of responses. Also the research measures were implemented based on a semi-structured qualitative questionnaire with 7 main components and 34 questions. The main components of the questionnaire are: user preferences and motivations, accessibility, sociability, inclusion and exclusion, attraction and deprivation, security, and control. Descriptive statistics and stepwise coding method were used to analyze the data. The results showed that the palladium complex, in spite of inefficiency in some components of the public space, has characteristics that users prefer it to other shopping centers in Tehran. Multi-functionality, climatic comfort, environmental quality, and high security were the most important reasons for social acceptance of palladium. Also, the use of youth and women from this space is a form of Distinction and De – differentiation. Finally, the result was that the Malls, in spite of promoting the culture of consumption and restrictions imposed on their users, due to "middle class lifestyle" and "the existence of structural constraints governing the public spaces of Iran", acts as a kind of "alternative public spaces".


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