The Beverly Centre is a three-level shopping mall sitting on a five-storey parking

lot, at a major intersection in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. At street level is the

Planet Hollywood restaurant with its iconic advertising image of a car entering

the street wall. A constantly changing digital sign documents the world’s rising

population and its declining acreage of rainforest for an audience primarily

sitting in traffic (Figure 9.1). Across the globe, closer to both the population and

the rainforest, is a city which is similar in more than size. Blok M Plaza in down-

town Jakarta is a close cousin of the Beverly Centre and employs its urban wall to

support a giant video screen flashing images to the passing, though often

jammed, traffic (Figure 9.2). Los Angeles has a reputation for privileging wheels

over feet, and for pioneering sequestered zones of safety in a dangerous urban

public realm (Davis 1991; Flusty 1997). The main streets of Jakarta present one

of the worst pedestrian environments in urban history. Only the poor walk any-

where, and to do so they must negotiate tiny strips of sidewalk which are often

blocked. Yet through the portals of either of these malls one experiences an

inversion of urban spatial experience. The difficulties and tensions of public space

are eased as one enters a protected realm of consumption and spectacle. The

enclosed retail environment of the private shopping mall was the most popular

and successful new building type of the second half of the twentieth century. It

is in many ways the quintessential building type of the age, embodying new and

evolving forms of subjectivity, representation and spatial practice.