Salon 39 The Store and the Street

For this Salon, our discussion will center on the space retail occupies––physically, anthropologically, digitally, and otherwise––in society. Brick and mortar stores, big or small, luxurious or unassuming, determined the look and feel of neighborhoods and cities. They made the streets. Online stores, real estate tremors, gentrification, and more have since transformed the ecosystem. From the disappearance of downtown urban districts and suburban shopping malls, to the havoc wreaked on storefronts by the pandemic, not to mention AR dressing rooms, pluriverse vitrines, next-day shipping, and pop-ups and drops, retail is undergoing a revolution. Implications on local community-building, city planning, labor relations, international trade also come into play.

It is against this backdrop that we convene our panel and pose the following questions: Where are we shopping and why? How has technology changed that? How do physical shops determine the built environment, and what does it mean to burst out of this framework? In what way can a store create community? How does the definition of that community expand beyond the act of selling and purchasing goods, and even perhaps thwart a consumeristic impulse? How does one design a space to generate this kind of interaction? To some, dollars are votes, making stores as sacred as voting booths; can stores carry this burden? How can we remedy the blight left behind by the closure of stores and storefronts in many streets of NY after the pandemic?

This salon took place on Monday, June 13, 2022


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