Shopping mall as new urban core? A morphological study of contemporary urban fabric influenced by shopping malls

    Don Johnson Lontoc   Affiliation
    ; Abigail Arellano Affiliation
    ; Raquel Baquiran Affiliation


A major transformation in contemporary cities is the evolution of the urban core. This paper investigated the issues associated with the surge of shopping malls as an alternative public space and how they may be classified as an “urban core” of contemporary cities. This paper aimed to interpret a new form of urban core and its set of spatial indicators relative to its socio-spatial network with its surroundings. This paper also aimed to introduce spatial indicators of urban core for the practical use of institutional units on how to create equally attractive public place alternatives to shopping malls. The paper argued that shopping malls with significant floor areas, accumulated over the years, substantially influence their surrounding area by increasing lot density and linkages. While these shopping mall complexes do not meet the threshold population to be considered “urban core”, the case studies have demonstrated that shopping malls can establish social hubs that centralize urban activities, and construct a “place” or “destination” with congregated urban services such as public plazas and public transport network.

Keyword : urban core, shopping mall, urban function, alternative public space, contemporary cities, urbanism

How to Cite
Lontoc, D. J., Arellano, A., & Baquiran, R. (2023). Shopping mall as new urban core? A morphological study of contemporary urban fabric influenced by shopping malls. Journal of Architecture and Urbanism, 47(2), 114–124.
Published in Issue
Sep 28, 2023
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Al, S. (2016). Mall city, Hong Kong’s dreamworlds of consumption. Hong Kong University Press.

Al, S. (2017). All under one roof: How malls and cities are becoming indistinguishable?

Alegado, S., & Yap, C. (2020). Manila malls may become e-commerce storage amid retail slump.

Angel, S., Franco, S., Liu, Y., & Blei, A. (2018). The shape compactness of urban footprints. Progress in Planning, 139, 100429.

Cohen, N. (2010). Planning the Urban Web.

Connell, J. (1999). Beyond Manila: Walls, malls, and private spaces. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 31(3), 417–439.

Cox, W. (2014). Urban cores, core cities and principal cities.

Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1987). A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. The University of Minnesota Press.

Dovey, K. (2010). Becoming places. Routledge.

Dovey, K. (2016). Urban design thinking: A conceptual toolkit. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Dovey, K., & Pafka, E. (2017). What is functional mix? An assemblage approach. Planning Theory and Practice, 18(2), 249–267.

Harvey, D. (2007). Neoliberalism and the city. Studies in Social Justice, 1(1), 2–13.

Hussein, F., Stephens, J., & Tiwari, R. (2020). Cultural memories for better place experience: The case of Orabi Square in Alexandria, Egypt. Urban Science, 4(1), 7.

Marchi, L. Z. (2016). CIAM 8 — The heart of city. The Urban Fabric, (2), 135–144.

Philippine Statistics Office. (2021). Highlights of the National Capital Region (NCR) Population - 2020 Census of Population and Housing.

Porta, S., & Renne, J. (2005). Linking urban design to sustainability: Formal indicators of social urban sustainability field research in Perth, Western Australia. Urban Design International, 10, 51–64.

Reyes, R. (2016). Meaningless vs worthwhile encounters? Sustaining social interactions in privatized public spaces of Manila shopping malls. Sains Humanika, 8(4–3), 51–57.

Tsiotas, D., & Polyzos, S. (2015). Decomposing multilayer transportation networks using complex network analysis: A case study for the Greek aviation network. Journal of Complex Networks, 3(4), 642–670.

Worpole, K., & Knox, K. (2007). The social value of public spaces. Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Zialcita, F. N. (2011). Ermita: Would-Be Civic Center of the Republic.

Zieleniec, A. (2018). Lefebvre’s politics of space: Planning the urban as oeuvre. Urban Planning, 3(3), 5–15.