NONETHELESS, AT THE LEVEL OF PUBLIC DISCOURSE, discomfort with teens hanging out in malls deserves some scrutiny. The idea has been discussed in town and city councils, and has been addressed in newspaper editorials.
Steve Spinetto is an architect, an urbanist, and a Boston city commissioner for handicapped access. If you've ridden Boston's water taxis, you've seen some of his work, the floating, adjustable gangways that make it possible for people in wheelchairs to board the boats.
Spinetto, a city boy who grew up in Cambridge, immediately remarked on the differences between malls and real public spaces. "The mall, to kids in suburban towns -- that's their Harvard Square." And he acknowledged problems. At the Cambridgeside Galleria, "They've even had shootings there."
That said, "Personally I find it [a teen ban] a violation of civil rights. And I think the mayor feels that way. Kids have to have some place to go some time. You can handle it with increased patrols."
But malls are private property, right? The owners can enforce whatever behavior they want.
Meanwhile, the Newburgh Mall in upstate New York has joined the curfew trend.
More on curfews here.