For many youths, shopping centres are important leisure venues that allow social interaction with peers and others. At Koskikeskus, in Tampere, Citycon offered quite a different possibility for activities and engagement with the shopping centre and its staff when we hosted a night for youths, security guards and shopping centre managers.
The event was attended by young people that spend much of their time in Koskikeskus. They were given the opportunity to see a lesser-known side of the centre. The organised programme had a variety of activities that are not normally available in the shopping centre, such as kickbiking and frisbee golf. The night also involved an educational aspect involving a workshop held by Youth Against Drugs, and discussions around what behaviour is allowed at the centre during opening hours.
The event was organised by Citycon in cooperation with the NGO Youth Service Association, Nuorten Palvelu, Youth Against Drugs, as well as Securitas that is responsible for security services. The aim of the activity is to promote the participation, responsibility and equality of young people in the shopping centre and to develop mutual understanding between adults and young people working on the premises.
“We want to tell young people what shopping centre management involves, and, at the same time, show that the shopping centre is not a faceless actor,” says Shopping Centre Manager Miiri Ylönen.
The event received very positive feedback from youths that participated in the event. After the event, we received questions about organising another overnight stay, not only from the youths who participated, but also from other young people spending time at Koskikeskus.