The National Mall: No Ordinary Public Space

The National Mall: No Ordinary Public Space

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By Lisa Benton-Short
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2016
World Rights
296 Pages 36 Images
ISBN 9781442630550
Published Jul 2016
Online discount: 35%
 $32.95    $21.42
ISBN 9781442630543
Published Jul 2016
Online discount: 25%
 $80.00    $60.00
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442630567
Published Aug 2016
Online discount: 36%
Full purchase $32.95

The National Mall in Washington, D.C. is one of the most important and highly visible urban public spaces in the U.S.  It is considered by many Americans to be “the nation’s front yard.” Yet few have written about the role of this public space in the twenty-first century.

In The National Mall, Lisa Benton-Short explores the critical issues that are redefining and reshaping this extraordinary public space. Her work focuses on three contemporary and interrelated debates about public space: the management challenges faced by federal authorities, increased demands for access and security post 9/11, and the role of the public in the Mall’s long-term planning and development plans. By taking a holistic view of the National Mall and analyzing the unique twenty-first century challenges it faces, Lisa Benton-Short provides a fluid, cohesive, and timely narrative that is as extraordinary as the Mall itself.

Lisa Benton-Short is Chair and associate professor in the Department of Geography at George Washington University and Senior Fellow with the Sustainability Collaborative.

List of Tables

List of Figures

List of Plates



Chapter 1: From Grand Avenue to Public Space: A Brief History of the Mall

Part I: Management Challenges

Chapter 2: Neglecting the Mall

Chapter 3: Managing the Mall

Part II Use and Development Pressures

Chapter 4: Making Space for the Dream

Chapter 5: Brawl on the Mall

Chapter 6: Securing the Mall

Part III Planning and Public Participation

Chapter 7: Whose Mall is It?

Chapter 8: The Right to the Mall

Chapter 9: Envisioning a 21st Century Mall


Notes and References

“Lisa Benton-Short’s scholarship is excellent. This book will be of interest to anyone interested in public space, national parks and other urban issues.”

Setha Low, Professor in the Anthropology Program and Director of the Public Space Research Group at the CUNY Graduate Center

The National Mall  is a terrific book. The author has produced a beautifully researched, written and illustrated narrative that makes a major contribution to the fields of American history and urban studies.”

Peter Muller, Senior Professor in the Department of Geography and Regional Studies at the University of Miami

‘This is a valuable document in the development of a movement towards rationalization and reform of Mall governance.’

Don Alexander Hawkins, Washington History Spring 2017

‘An excellent book on the National Mall’s history of failures and mismanagement… Benton-Short’s book is firmly rooted in social science scholarship, but it should be read by everyone interested in the past, present, and future of public spaces.’

Mark A Barron, H-FedHist July 2017

John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize awarded by The American Association of Geographers

(United States) - Winner in 2017