Poster 27: Dette er mitt favorittsted! Kjøpesentret som en sosial arena

Shopping centres facilitate social interactions and a sense of belonging for different groups in the population and thereby might be important for facilitating good health and wellbeing.

Background: Social arenas are places where people meet, take part in activities, or just spend time together with other people. Accessibility to social arenas is of particular importance as opportunities for social interaction are recognised as a basic human need and a significant determinant of health and wellbeing. Thus, knowledge about various arenas for social interactions, and how they are used and perceived, is essential. Even though the research literature shows that shopping centres might be used beyond its function for commercial purposes, there is limited knowledge from Norway on how people use, perceive, and experience shopping centres when shopping is not the main purpose of the visit. The aim of this study is therefore to explore and obtain in-depth knowledge about people’s use of shopping centres as social arenas.

Methods: A qualitative research design was chosen and walk-along interviews with visitors at a shopping centre in the region Viken in Norway were used as primary data collection method. This shopping centre is located in the town centre of a medium-sized city and has existed for more than twenty years. The participants consisted of five men and eight women in their mid-twenties to mid-eighties that mainly visited the shopping centre for non-shopping purposes. Transcripts of the interviews were analysed using Systematic Text Condensation.

Results: Preliminary results showed that all participants were seeking the presence of other people and a social life at the shopping centre, and all of them appreciated interactions with other people such as family members, friends, acquaintances, members of the staff, or total strangers. The social interactions could be described on a continuum from non-verbal interactions, spontaneous interactions with strangers or acquaintances, to more personal and planned meetings. Findings also showed that the majority of the participants felt a sense of belonging to the shopping centre and its surroundings, and that for some the shopping centre played a major part of their everyday life and daily routines. Several participants also used the shopping centre to escape their everyday life, either due to a need for a break from daily routines or because they wanted to get their minds off troublesome thoughts.

Conclusions: Although shopping centres are contested as urban spaces, they play an important role as social arenas. The results shed light on how shopping centres might facilitate social interactions and thereby contribute to enhance health and wellbeing in local communities. This information can in turn be of high relevance for future research as well as practice within different disciplines, such as public health, planning, and urbanism.


Emma C.A. Nordbø (1, 2); Kariann Krohne (1) og Camilla Ihlebæk (1,3)


B4 - Livskvalitet, mangfold og inkludering - Fritid og kultur




1) Department of Public Health Science, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway; 2) The Center for Evidence-Based Public Health: a JBI Affiliated Group; 3) Faculty of Health and Social Work Studies, Østfold University College, Fredrikstad, Norway.



Presenterende forfatter(e):

Gry Rustad Pettersen

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