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The Socio-Spatial Aspects of Class and Inequality in Shopping Centres: A case study of the Bullring, Birmingham

Part 2 Dissertation 2020
Billie Chell
University of Lincoln Lincoln | UK
This paper explores the complex relationship between architecture and social class through an analysis of the spatial aspects of shopping centres in relation to the British class system. As physical retail environments decline, the importance of shopping centres increases. This research confronts their problematic relationship with class to help guarantee the future of a social space for all.

To what extent the preconceived perception of shopping centres as elitist spaces is true is established by understanding how class influences their design and use and the ensuing implications in terms of user experience and social boundaries. The Bullring in Birmingham forms an ongoing case study which is supplemented by similar retail environments around the world.

It is concluded that the implemented design of shopping centres is intended to be classist with implications of active exclusion and experiential bias. Although their design seeks to reiterate social boundaries, by considering shopping centres as a social construct, it is found that consumers deny its laws and illustrate to society how social boundaries can be abolished. This notion goes someway to invalidate the perennial perception, as the re- appropriation of shopping centres supports a greater good.

Billie Chell

Primali Paranagamage
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