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62 Alb. L. Rev. 1229 (1998-1999)
Private Property, Public Property: Shopping Centers and Expressive Freedom in the States

handle is hein.journals/albany62 and id is 1243 raw text is: PRIVATE PROPERTY, PUBLIC PROPERTY: SHOPPING
Stanley H. Friedelbaum*
The growth of suburban shopping centers in the decades follow-
ing the end of World War II has had far more pervasive ramifica-
tions than merely effecting a change in the ways that goods and
services are displayed, dispensed, and sold. Proliferating and ever-
expanding malls, usually located along or adjacent to major high-
ways, increasingly have come to replace traditional municipalities
as loci for the conduct of a host of activities.' No longer are
downtown areas looked upon as the exclusive or even the princi-
pal locations for such pursuits. Instead, shopping centers have
come to serve as the primary means of carrying on many businesses
formerly confined to central cities.2 With the dramatic reassign-
ment of commercial resources and functions, earlier notions of city
streets as the foremost places for the dissemination of ideas and
views, often on controversial issues of political or social significance,
have taken on a less compelling demeanor.3 If shopping centers
have not completely displaced specified sections of cities in fostering
these and related activities, it is clear that a new era has opened,
requiring reconsideration of established institutional arrangements
as well as an examination of the problems that they pose.4
* Senior Consulting Editor, State Constitutional Commentary; Professor of Political Sci-
ence Emeritus, Rutgers University.
1 See WILLIAM S. KOWINSKI, THE MALLING OF AMERICA 50-51 (1985) (drawing upon the
results of a two-year journey, representing visits to selected malls throughout the nation and
providing an impressionistic account).
2 What is referred to as the Highway Comfort Culture, a network that is not the city,
the suburb, or rural America, although it takes themes and images from those places and
turns them into its own, has bypassed the filtering process of individual towns. Id. at 51.
3 See id. at 139 (finding that malls have come to serve as thf accidental capitals of sub-
4 See Sam Roberts, Now, Public Rights in Private Domains, N.Y. TWMES, Dec. 25, 1994, at
E3 (noting that [more non-automotive retail sales are now generated in shopping centers
than in downtowns).


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