Apparently they are very much like town squares in Latin American countries and perhaps some enterprizing municipalities can capitalize on that.
Bringing Nueva Vida to Aging Strip Malls
By Nick Miroff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 19, 2006; Page A01
In many Latin American cities and towns, tiny villages and little pueblos, there is a central plaza, a square anchored by a church, government buildings, the statue of a hero. It is the design imprint of Spanish colonial rule, a place where prayer, politics and street commerce all converge.
Manassas has no such place. But it does have the Flea Market Discount Plaza, a tumbledown strip mall three blocks from the city's quaint Old Town neighborhood with two taco trucks and an indoor bazaar selling everything from cowboy boots to velvet jaguar paintings. It also has Eva Muñoz, a round, ruddy-faced sidewalk vendor who hawks hot chocolate, steaming corn on the cob and other cold-weather delights from a cart outside the Antojitos Mary restaurant and pool hall.
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