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Non-shopping malls

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Economy

One fine day, my teacher and I were discussing the mushrooming malls in the city of Bangalore. Here is an extract of the conversation-

"What makes people rush to these malls? Why do they undergo so much trouble only to purchase those items which are anyway available in their neighbourhood stores? – these are wrong questions to ask in today’s times."

These days the progress and development of the cities are miscalculated as the number of malls sprouting up in every locality. The prices of the real estate are determined by its distance from the nearest mall. As byproduct, there are traffic jams! There are hours of load sheddings in the neighborhood while the malls remain bright and cold with lights and air conditioners! And there are long lines of water at nearby chawl while the mall floors and glasses are washed everyday!

In an experiment conducted recently, I calculated the ratio of people carrying shopper bags in these malls, to the people who have not purchased anything. I stood at the top floor smiling at my observation! Most people visit malls just for the sake of it. Except for the discount sells and festival seasons, these malls are deprived of ‘buyers’ due to exorbitant prices, even though they appear crowded. The food courts are less crowded than the neighborhood restaurants serving idli-vada. The failure of these malls to do business is more and more obvious these days. They either fail to kick-start or to withstand the pressures exerted by the new players!

Comments

Naveen's picture

Cities that are ill

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"When shopping malls become meeting places instead of parks & gardens, it is a symptom that the city is ill"

I think Indian cities are all ill ! Quite true that the price of real estate is jacked up because of a mall nearby, & people crave for malls close to their homes.

silkboard's picture

Who said that?

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Hope the exaggeration is only artistic. Malls have NOT BECOME the meeting places. There is a big demand for recreation around the city, which is going unfulfilled.

  • If the malls become meeting points, and not shopping points, they will die with time, problem will take care of itself.
  • What is wrong in malls becoming a meeting point? If you are expecting all teenagers to dance and prance around around trees in the parks, best of luck in working on their preferences.
  • Like it or not, what people want is what happens. If the malls are indeed popular (which I DO NOT believe to be the case), read it as lack of options for quality shopping experience (can't park, can't walk, can't get a bill, can't return). So fix that, instead of working against what people want.
Naveen's picture

Perception of quality of life

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This was a quote that I had read on GTZ (http://sutp.org/).

As I understand, the quote is to illustrate that when people's perception of quality of life is skewed excessively in favour of how frequently one visits or shops in malls as opposed to meeting people or taking walks /jogging in open spaces such as parks /gardens, it suggests that the city's priorities are out of sync with environment /sustainable living.

This is very true in India & Bangalore since most builders advertise about nearby malls from their projects. Also, people tend to take pride in meeting others at Forum mall or Garuda mall rather than meeting at "non-trendy" spaces such as Lalbagh or Cubbon park.

silkboard's picture

absolutely not

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Naveen, by saying that:

people tend to take pride in meeting others at Forum mall or Garuda mall rather than meeting at "non-trendy" spaces such as Lalbagh or Cubbon park.

You are only buying into all the advertizing and advertorials. That statement isn't true, do not buy into or spread commercialized definitions of "trendy". Nobody that I know sees any "pride" in these things.

By forcing such "perceptions" of people on the people, nobody will win converts for sustainable living concepts. Its a classic mistake all activists make - push an exaggerated sense of guilt to sell their thoughts. Such approach puts people on backfoot, doesn't win anyone anything. Selling "guilt" is an old school and western approach to get some charitable notes out of very thick wallets. Here in our city/country, don't need notes, need hands. And to get hands, you need to engage, not put people on defensive.

Like in the original post above:

The food courts are less crowded than the neighborhood restaurants serving idli-vada.

What exactly does that mean? That line tells me that the author only goes to the food courts, and not to Adiga's or Sagar's (as in good Darshini's) on early weekday or late weeked mornings.

Naveen's picture

Nobody is buying/selling/spreading/forcing

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I don't think anybody is buying, selling, spreading or forcing anything on anyone here. Whilst you might not know anybody that takes pride in such things, surely there are many out there, else the real estate firms wouldn't be quoting mall distances on their ads.

rs's picture

I think the main reason why

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I think the main reason why malls are popular with some people as they are places where one can walk and shop without stress - once one has parked ones car.  I personally dislike malls and the air usually makes me sick.

I am increasing realizing that the fundamental problem in Bangalore is that the footpaths have become unwalkable. If, for example, they had decent footpaths in areas such as Commercial Street and Brigade Road - along with decent connectivity and/or parking - people would prefer to do their shopping there are the whole environment is a lot better. Air is fresher, experience is better, prices are lower and can be bargained etc. The same thing applies to local markers such as 8th Cross in Malleswaram and Gandhi Bazaar. I dont even think they necessarily need be closed to traffic since that seems to be a pipe dream.

If there were decent footpaths in Bangalore it would also reduce a lot of other traffic as many people would walk or bike rather than drive - at least locally.

I only wish there was some megabucks to be made by building proper footpaths - then our corrupt politicians would express some interest. Meanwhile, the rot continues.

Ramesh

 

Transmogrifier's picture

Crying need for quality in public spaces

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Here's the good news most of us already know...despite both the hyped and real loss of the 'old Bangalore', more public spaces exist than often acknowledged. In addition to our restored lakes (let's refrain from arguing about the quality of that restoration for now) and large parks, quite a few (underrated and undervisted) neighborhood parks exist. The bad news, of course lies is what plagues everything else, quality and connectivity.


I say, let's (again) turn our rants into action, pick a place and take a stab at it (Namma Railu style). My vote goes to Cubbon Park since it has a quite a few potential tie-ins (the reengineered Mallya Rd, plans for the MG Rd Blvd v2.0, connectivity via NM and other pedestrianization possibilites). Off the top of my head, bicycle lanes in the park and an addition of a charismatic ped bridge connection to MG Rd/MG Park are possibilities.

In case you were wondering Freedom Park has shown that we can expect more. And as for the malls, let them serve as public spaces too...

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TM

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