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The Borderlands Mall: Form and Function of an Imported Landscape

David Wasserman


For an economic innovation to succeed in the developing world, it must adapt to the social and economic structures of the host society. Some scholars consider the Mexican shopping mall an imported innovation that has altered the traditional landscape of urban commerce. This paper details how the landscape form and business functions of two regional shopping malls in Ciudad Juárez, the Plaza Juárez and Río Grande malls, reflect their unique borderlands location. It then analyzes the form and function of traditional commerce in Ciudad Juárez, including street vendors, markets, and downtown stores. Next, traditional commerce is compared to shopping malls of the city. The study demonstrates that Ciudad Juárez's shopping malls have undergone an adaptive process, adopting the "recession proof" form and function of the informal economic sector. This assures the permanence of these facilities in a region dominated by transborder retail trade.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229