Contents 1 Architectural authenticity 2 Plaza Mexico's "Angel of Independence" 3 Identity and place 4 Identity formation 5 Affective connectivity 6 Tourist attraction 7 Festivities and cultural events 8 Transnational community and place-making 9 Nationhood and consumption of culture 10 Future expansion 11 References

Architectural authenticity[edit] Plaza México has a unique architectural recreation of Mexican regional and national icons. The architecture is based off traditional Mexican towns and contains a variety of Mexican cultural symbols from different eras. The Korean owners hired two Mexican public relations coordinators that are highly knowledgeable and passionate about Mexican national culture to select the icons, cultural symbols and events that are portrayed.[2] The coordinators also selected unique types of construction materials to build Plaza México in order to produce quality and Mexican authenticity. The architectural decorations like the plaza, kiosk, fountains and monuments are similar to that of many Mexican cities. For example, Plaza México has replicas of the Angel of Independence of México City and the kiosk of the Zócalo of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.[2] The plaza was reproduced with characteristics based on the appearance of the Palace of Jalisco at Guadalajara. The plaza’s pavement is made of adoquín stone and the benches are made of crafted iron, like the ones found in the provinces of México. Plaza México was actually constructed using original materials from México such as stone from Zacatecas and talavera from Puebla. The mall is physically structured with open streets and a plaza to reconstruct the environment as a traditional Mexican town where the visitors can walk around or participate in cultural and recreational events just like in México.[2]

Plaza Mexico's "Angel of Independence"[edit] The reproduction of Mexico City’s Angel of Independence, which symbolizes Mexican nationhood in Mexico, marks the major entrance to Plaza Mexico. This sculpture serves as the master symbol of Plaza Mexico representing its importance in the community. The Angel has already developed some history in Plaza Mexico becoming an important site of congregation for political rallies. For example, during the March and April 2006 student walkouts for US congressional immigration reform proposals, large groups met at the Angel before marching to Los Angeles City Hall.[2] In addition, during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, community members and other visitors gathered in Plaza Mexico to watch the games and after a victory or tie they would congregate around the Angel of Independence.[2]

Identity and place[edit] Plaza Mexico is a social gathering space of community pride and enjoyment for not only the local and nearby Mexican residents, but also other visitors from different backgrounds and locations. Plaza Mexico is the main public, open space for the residents of Lynwood because there are not many other public spaces to hangout in the neighborhood. Plaza Mexico can be seen as the “heart” of Lynwood or its “downtown”.The visitors, both elderly and young, enjoy this social space because they are able to perceive themselves as individuals who appreciate and reproduce Mexican traditions.[2] Overall, the place functions as a “miniature park” consisting of replicated Mexican architecture, open space landscaping, patriotic sculptures, cultural symbols, and religious icons, which provides a Mexican national authenticity environment.

Identity formation[edit] Plaza México serves as an important supportive structure for Latinos in the Los Angeles area. The plaza is situated among/between Imperial Highway, Long Beach Boulevard, State Street and the 105 freeway. The location is representative of the multiple identity intersections that Latinos (not just in the LA area) live among. Between these borders lies a transnational community that creates a space through which they can transform, reinvent, identify and celebrate with one another. Plaza Mexico does fill an important gap in Latino cultural life in the city.[3] Through the space created within Plaza Mexico, Latinos create and reinvent identities for themselves and through the community represented in the Marketplace. Identity formation is important in this particular setting because “the plaza fulfills a community and cultural function that is somewhat absent from the Los Angeles landscape”.[3] As a result of the increase in rental costs in the area,[3] there has not been a stable place where Latinos can call their own. Plaza México serves as that stable place where Latinos produce their identities in a safe space.

Affective connectivity[edit] Affective connectivity is the relationship between a people and their homeland and how they experience it once they are outside of the nation.[3] Gomez-Barris and Irazabal define affective connectivity as “the ongoing and persistent emotional, symbolic and psychic attachments and expressions of a group to a nation, specific regions, or communities across national borders”.[3] Clara Irazabal and Ramzi Farhart discuss territorialization in their article, “Latino Communities in the United States: Place-Making in the Pre-World War II, Postwar, and Contemporary City”.[4] They define territorialization as the process of turning a space into a place. Territorialization can be applied to Plaza México because a literal space has indeed been turned into a place where the Latino community can come together, and through interactions with the plaza and the people, forming a connection between themselves, the plaza, and their cultures.

Tourist attraction[edit] Many of the visitors consist of immigrant clienteles, some of them are unable to travel to Mexico because they do not have the legal or economic resources. Most of the visitors are of low or middle-low income status and many some of their families are undocumented immigrants and face harsh border conditions. Since, many of these visitors cannot return to their homeland for a visit, even if desired, instead they come to Plaza Mexico to feel like they are at home again. The Plaza also attracts other local and regional visitors who want to consume a taste of ‘real’ Mexico within California.[2] Plaza Mexico has become a cultural territory where local community members live by and develop an emotional connection to express their Mexicanness. The Plaza also has an altar for the “Virgen de Guadalupe” frame and the crucified “Jesus Christ” sculpture. The altar is inside a small temple located outside by the plaza and it serves a dwelling place for many visitors where they pray quietly at peace. The Plaza sells different types of souvenirs, such as rosaries, crosses, keychains and T-shirts of Virgin reproductions and Mexico flags and colors. These souvenirs carry the message that Plaza Mexico is a place where cultural and religious(Catholicism) expression exists.

Festivities and cultural events[edit] The Plaza hosts a busy calendar of Mexican festivities and cultural events, such as Mexican folk music, dances, Aztec and Mejica performances, cultural exhibits and other artistic expressions. Some of the traditional celebrations that are celebrated are “Cinco de Mayo,” “El Grito de la Independencia,” and Virgin of Guadalupe: “El dia 12 de deciembre”.[2]

Transnational community and place-making[edit] Plaza México can be used to understand transnational cultural connections between different generations of immigrants.[3] It provides an outlet for Latinos to make a space for themselves and future generations. The community created through Plaza Mexico allows Latinos to feel a sense of belonging and create supportive structures. The plaza “offers a unique location from which to conceptualise and discuss the dynamics of cross-border cultural activities and cross-border imaginaries in a metropolitan area with an expansive Latino/a population” (Gomez-Barris and Irazabal 341). Within a busy metropolitan area such as L.A., Latinos are able to feel "at home" through the overall sensory experience provided in Plaza Mexico. Place-making can be defined as "ties produced through an(other) reimagined and recreated homeland."[3] Plaza Mexico can be seen as a recreated homeland, and through this recreation, political, social, and economic identities are made visible. Through Plaza Mexico, Latinos also "belong across multiple border,"[3] meaning the cultural practices grant Latinos the ability to still be a part of communities in Latin American countries. For example, one of the bigger celebrations held at Plaza Mexico is el dia de La Virgen de Guadalupe (December 12). This religious celebration brings together Latinos from all origins and “illustrates how immigrants bring their traditions with them from their homeland”.[3]

Nationhood and consumption of culture[edit] Many visitors come here to spend leisure time and hangout with their relatives and friends. They come to the Plaza to relax from a long day at work or at school. Many of the youth come here to consume the culture, express their individuality and express their pride for their Mexican roots. In addition, many come here to escape from the urban and societal problems that oppress them and it is at Plaza Mexico, away from the streets like an island, where they find peace and harmony for a day while they learn about their culture.

Future expansion[edit] Plaza Mexico plans on expanding the mall to have more traditional architectural elements. A pyramid is planned to be built somewhere outside the plaza to reinforce the expression of Mexican nationhood. According to a Plaza representative the Plaza ‘is not Mexican if it does not have a pyramid.[2] The Plaza also plans to build a large fountain plaza displaying maps of and the United States bounded together at the center and surrounded by Latin American national flags. The large fountain is planned to be built to express inclusion of all Latino backgrounds and not just exclusively the Mexican culture.

References[edit] ^ ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Clara Irázabal & Macarena Gómez-Barris (2008): Bounded Tourism: Immigrant Politics, Consumption, and Traditions at Plaza Mexico, Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 5:3, 186-213. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gomez-Barris, Macarena and Clara Irazabal. 2009. Transnational meanings of La Virgen de Gudalupe: Religiosity, Space and Culture at Plaza Mexico. Culture and Religion: an Interdisciplinary Journal. 10, no. 3: 339-357. ^ Irazabal, C., and R. Farhart. 2008. Latino Communities in the United States: Place-Making in the Pre-World War II Postwar, and Contemporary City. Journal of Planning Literature 22, no. 3: 207-228. v t e Shopping malls in California Northern California Alameda Bay Street Emeryville Bayfair Center Eastmont Town Center Fremont Hub NewPark Mall Oakland City Center Pacific Commons Rockridge Market Hall Skywest Commons Southland Mall Stoneridge Shopping Center Union Landing Shopping Center Westgate Center Contra Costa Abella Center Broadway Plaza El Cerrito Plaza Hilltop Mall Macdonald 80 Shopping Center Pacific East Mall Somersville Towne Center Sunvalley Shopping Center Willows Shopping Center Fresno Fashion Fair Mall River Park Marin Mall at Northgate Town Center at Corte Madera Village at Corte Madera Monterey Del Monte Center Northridge Mall Sacramento Arden Fair Mall Downtown Commons Florin Mall Florin Towne Centre Sunrise Mall San Francisco Metreon Stonestown Galleria Union Square Union Street Stores Westfield San Francisco Centre San Mateo Hillsdale Shopping Center Serramonte Center Shops at Tanforan Westlake Shopping Center San Joaquin Sherwood Mall Weberstown Mall West Valley Mall Santa Clara Eastridge Great Mall of the Bay Area Mayfield Mall PruneYard Shopping Center San Antonio Shopping Center Santana Row Stanford Shopping Center Sunnyvale Town Center Vallco Shopping Mall Westfield Oakridge Westfield Valley Fair Westgate Mall Sonoma Coddingtown Mall Montgomery Village Santa Rosa Plaza Elsewhere Bayshore Mall Capitola Mall Chico Mall Solano Town Center Vintage Faire Mall Visalia Mall Westfield Galleria at Roseville Yuba Sutter Mall Southern California Los Angeles Los Angeles Proper Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Beverly Center Brentwood Country Mart El Mercado de Los Angeles Farmers Market FIGat7th Grove at Farmers Market Hollywood and Highland Center Promenade at Howard Hughes Center West Hollywood Gateway Project Westfield Century City Westside Pavilion San Fernando Valley Americana at Brand Burbank Town Center Crossroads of the World Commons at Calabasas Fallbrook Center Glendale Galleria Northridge Fashion Center Sherman Oaks Galleria Universal CityWalk Westfield Fashion Square Westfield Promenade Westfield Topanga Elsewhere Antelope Valley Mall Cerritos Towne Center Del Amo Fashion Center Eastland Center Edgemar Fisherman's Village Hawthorne Plaza Shopping Center Lakewood Center Long Beach Plaza Los Cerritos Center Malibu Country Mart Old Pasadena Paseo Colorado Plaza México Plaza West Covina Puente Hills Mall Quad at Whittier Santa Monica Place Shops at Montebello South Bay Galleria SouthBay Pavilion Stonewood Center Third Street Promenade Westfield Culver City Westfield Santa Anita Westfield Valencia Town Center Whittwood Town Center Orange Anaheim GardenWalk Anaheim Plaza Bella Terra Brea Mall Buena Park Downtown Downtown Disney Fashion Island Irvine Spectrum Laguna Hills Mall MainPlace Mall The Market Place Outlets at Orange Shops at Mission Viejo South Coast Plaza Village at Orange Westminster Mall Riverside Desert Fashion Plaza Galleria at Tyler Main Street Pedestrian Mall Moreno Valley Mall Promenade In Temecula Westfield Palm Desert San Bernardino Barstow Mall Carousel Mall Citrus Plaza Inland Center Mall of Victor Valley Montclair Plaza Ontario Mills Redlands Mall Victoria Gardens San Diego Chula Vista Center Fashion Valley Mall Grossmont Center Las Americas Premium Outlets Otay Ranch Town Center Parkway Plaza Seaport Village Westfield Carlsbad Westfield Horton Plaza Westfield Mission Valley Westfield North County Westfield Plaza Bonita Westfield UTC Ventura Collection at RiverPark The Oaks Pacific View Mall Simi Valley Town Center Elsewhere Imperial Valley Mall La Cumbre Plaza Valley Plaza Mall Retrieved from "éxico_(Lynwood,_California)&oldid=795651556" Categories: Shopping malls in Southeast Los Angeles County, CaliforniaHidden categories: Los Angeles County, California articles missing geocoordinate dataAll articles needing coordinates

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