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The People's Mall Project


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In my first ethnography, Yard Sales: The sociological treasures within another person's trash, I learned that yard sales consist of different symbolic interactions between people and that these events flash in and out of existence. The next question I will be asking is, how do we nourish these symbolic interactions through material exchange?

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The People's Mall Project

  1. 1. The People’s Mall Project by Paris DaniellIn my �irst ethnography, Yard Sales: The sociological The proposed project is a center that can improve and expandtreasures within another persons trash, I learned that yard the �lea market experience. Based on my previous research onsales consist of different symbolic interactions between yard sales, I will pair the needs identi�ied in the study withpeople and that these events �lash in and out of existence. various forms of ful�illment. This center will be called TheThe next question I will be asking is, how do we nourish People’s Mall. Many of these areas of The People’s Mall will bethese symbolic interactions through material exchange? based not only on material exchange, but also the exchange of knowledge. Elders, experts, or anyone else that can offerWe already see large-scale yard sale events; they are usually something to the community would �ind themselvescalled �lea markets or swap meets. Wikipedia description is welcomed and nourished. This said, my vision for The People’sas follows; “A �lea market or swap meet is a type of bazaar Mall consists of the following elements.where inexpensive or secondhand goods are sold orbartered. It may be indoor, such as in a warehouse or schoolgymnasium; or it may be outdoors, such as in a �ield or under Top down view of The People’s Mall.a tent. The �lea-market vendors may range from a family thatis renting a table for the �irst time to sell a few unwantedhousehold items to a commercial operation including a largevariety of new or used merchandise, including scouts whorove the region buying items for sale from garage sales andother �lea markets, and several staff watching the stalls.”Like yard sales, they are naturally occurring and theirlocation varies. Michael Prokopow provides a perspective ofthe �lea market, saying “The suggestion has been made thaton any given summer Sunday in the United States morepeople can be found at �lea markets then attending church.Now while very possibly an apocryphal account, the idea ofmillions of women and men searching for old and newtreasures is compelling. And whether located in a borrowedfarmers �ield, the parking lot of mammoth sports arenas, thebroad and arti�icially bright isles of some suburban shoppingmalls, or a high school gymnasium seemingly unchangedsince the Cold War.” Another author by the name of G.G.Carbone expands on the subject stating, “The contemporaryAmerican �lea market constitutes a remarkable cultural andsocial phenomenon.” This said, creating an ideal environmentfor this type of �lea market behavior to occur is productivefor the community on multiple levels.The closest �lea market to me occurs once a week at thedrive-in movie theatre. These locations are generally lessthan ideal (uneven pavement, no shade, high wind, venerableto weather), and I feel like there should be a better way.Renting spaces at a �lea market in California ranges from 5$per 10x10 area, or in more densely populated areas up to25$ per 10x10 area. Reservations are usually not required,although some �lea markets recommend it (LaFarge).
  2. 2. Main Trading Building – This is the largestbuilding in the center, and houses the indoortrading �loor. Here people can drop off theiritems through a loading bay, and then rent aspace to sell their goods. Welcoming Center - Many of the people at yard sales consisted of those new to the area. This area of the Mall would feature key information for new comers. It could also serve as a place for connecting lonely long-term residents with lonely newcomers.
  3. 3. Auction house - this part of the peoples mall could be for pro�it or non-pro�it. Essentially this would serve a place to sell higher priced items and would attract more af�luent patrons. Those in it for the heat of a bargain would �ind this event exciting. Art Gallery - The walls and resting areas of The People’s Mall would be decorated by artists. Also occasionally there could be indoor gallery viewings. This would inject cultural aesthetics into not onlyArts and Crafts area - The theme of this area Education and Job center - The tools needed to The People’s Mall, but also the community.would not only be artistic, but sustainable by acquire a job would be accessible, including onemaking with old items e.g. Maker faire’s. This of the most important parts of employment -would serve as a point of social interaction, people that can help with networking or evenalong with education. Hobbies and crafts serve �ixing a a medium in which people can communicateand bond through.
  4. 4. Outside stage - Music and local bands could book thisarea; providing entertainment for the patrons andexposure for the musicians / performers. This sets atone of celebration for the surrounding environment,and creates a main-stage for either those willing toentertain, or be entertained.Public presentations and speakers - Leverage thecommunity knowledge and project it to those inter-ested in listening. Why waste perfectly good life andprofessional experiences? This integration of intellec-tual giving-back would vary depending on demand,and would be moderated by the community.
  5. 5. Co-op garden and Produce - A community garden would serve as a food resource, and social event for people. Those new to the area could sign up to take part in the care-taking schedule. The goods produced would be sold and the pro�it re-invested into the next garden.Recycle Center and E-waste disposal - An ef�icientlyrun recycling station and e-waste disposal dumpsteraids the community in several ways. The �irst beingeconomical, people are able to take their scrap metal,cans, etc to the People’s Mall in order to exchange themfor money. This money can then directly be re-investedinto the community, and optimal accessibility makes itan ideal location to visit. Positive environmental impactis also an obvious reason for this facility.
  6. 6. Awesome playground - Kids love their playgrounds -and having an awesome one never hurts. Theprimary purchaser in families are mothers, so beinga kid-friendly location is an important element.
  7. 7. The People’s Mall Project
  8. 8. Works Cited Carbone, G. G.. How to make a fortune with other peoples junk: an insiders secrets to nding and reselling hidden treasures at garage sales, auctions, estate sales, ea markets, yard sales, antique shows, and ebay. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005. Print. "Flea market - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2011. <>. Hall, Dennis, and Susan G. Hall. American icons: an encyclopedia of the people, places, and things that have shaped our culture. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006. Print.LaFarge, Albert. The U.S. ea market directory: the complete guide to Americas best ea markets. 3rd ed. New York: St. Martins Press, 2009. Print.