Malls, malls everywhere…

It’s quite an experience to see a building being built from the ground in front of your eyes. It has happened with me too, everyday when I used to go to work, I would see this structure being built bit by bit – soon it turned out to be a mall. Then another one, then another one… and then it got boring. So when I began passing another building being built with what looked like a different layout, I began hoping that this one won’t turn out to be a mall, but alas, that is what is being built.

Does anybody feel that our cities are getting too many malls these days? I for one would love to see a building grow into something else, something different. Is Indian architecture limited to malls and multi-storey housing? Can’t we build anything else? The last two malls I have seen being built have been right next to slum clusters and the dichotomy always strikes me. If construction on the vast open space was to be had, couldn’t it be something more interesting… a community centre, a sports complex, an ampitheatre or even a low-cost housing project. Nobody’s going to argue that affordable housing is more necessary than a place to shop. But yeah, who will get any monetary gains from that?

On the subject of shopping, does anyone really shop extensively at malls? I find most things there unaffordable unless there is a sale, and that happens only once or twice a year. The rest of the time the food court is the only place where I can afford to buy anything. So really, who are we building all these malls for??

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8 thoughts on “Malls, malls everywhere…

  1. While I do not know much about art or architecture, it is quite obvious that most new structures are simply pathetic, never mind the hype they generate. There is a fetish for glass everywhere and most structures are merely monsters of brick and mortar. Coming to glass, conventional wisdom suggests that they suck energy, need too much maintenance, and are practising grounds for stone throwers (i.e. some irate protesters!).
    Hence, I believe that most iconic structures did not come up in recent times.

    As for malls, I presume that they don’t just work on the sales made. That said, the feasibility of the model will be tested during a real recession. And lastly, there is money to be made in affordable housing, and I am not talking about the money exchanged under the table.

  2. the phenomenon of concrete shopping centres could quite successfully be replaced with open-air spaces, such as the Dilli Haat. shopping avenues could be replaced with parks, or resting spaces, as can be found in the heart of cities such as London, New York, Tokyo and other such like. it takes some amount of sense on the part of civic authorities, and developers alike, to be slightly imaginative, and conjure plans and designs which will break the current trend of monotonous and rapid ‘urbanisation’, if it can be termed that. malls are an unhealthy habit, for shoppers and non-shoppers. there is much more to do than fritter away precious moments at inconsequential places, doing inane things.
    to answer your question, malls are being ‘built’ for those people who believe the future of infrastructure lies in glass and steel structures which jut-out in the cityscape like unprotected nails lodged firmly on a derelict wall.

  3. Even I don’t know why they build malls…but when one goes out of India, you come to realize that they too, have a loooooot of malls. Of course, they also have something unique attached to it, like an aquarium inside the mall or a musical fountain outside..Indian malls unfortunately lack that vision…or maybe area, for that matter.

    personally speaking, i go for window shopping, check out all the latest designs, head to colaba or linking road and look for similar designs 😀 lol…

  4. The REASON they build malls, is for us old people to walk in, when the weather’s bad. 🙂

  5. I’m sure a lot of shopping areas are built on speculation and as a more advanced way for rich people and capitalists to gamble with their investments… Malls are built when libraries or parks or even public transit hubs would be more useful to many people who live in the area… there’s probably a tax angle too– a government’s more likely to get tax money from a shopping mall than a nice green area with some water, some shade, a place to refresh people’s souls.

  6. I wish I could be more optimistic. I see Western economic culture being pushed all over the world, and before too long, there will be no more local culture. All cites will look the same, with the same chain stores taking the place of the small local markets. This is all very well for the owners of those chain stores, but it has destroyed our local culture here in America, and I fear it will do the same everywhere.
    I don’t see it as “progress” to remove the individual character of a city. Some cities here have made laws prohibiting such chain stores from building, but have been overuled by the courts as unconstitutional for restricting free speech.
    As I say, I’m not optimistic about this “progress”. I foolishly hope that progess is embracing all cultures and rejoicing in diversity, that we should be striving for a World that understands that we are all in this together, and that our dreams are shared among all people.

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