Harvard Square is home to upwards of 150 shops, all within a few blocks of the university campus. The area used to boast an avant-garde sensibility and dozens of independent stores, and vestiges of this free spirit remain. Certainly, there are still more bookstores in Harvard Square than anywhere else in the Boston area. However, many of the edgier shops have been replaced by chains, leading critics to complain that the square has become an outdoor shopping mall.