Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Dead malls

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Once again, essentially all I am doing is to point you at another blog. I have visited and lived in North America for long enough that I did indeed spend quite a lot of time in malls. In fact our own Oakridge Mall, with the incredibly frequent sales at The Bay and the free wifi at the Apple Store – and Four Hours Free Parking – still manages to carry on. Elsewhere, the unstoppable rise of  Amazon – and staying home to let the UPS man in – has spelled the death knell of the enclosed mall.

This region has seen two new major mall developments recently – at the airport and the ferry terminal – but they are not enclosed. They now try to mimic town centres or even villages: at one time they snubbed such places.  As a young urban planner I tried to understand how they worked and fit them in to the places that we were supposed to be protecting from change. I knew that the impact of heavy traffic had make most High Streets unlivable. The idea of the traffic free street was only just getting under way. The Mall was place where the traffic was kept to the outside parking lot. Within the shopping area there was air conditioning for summer, protection from the weather in the other seasons and a predictable, limited variety of activities. But mostly there was Shopping.

Cruise ships still have malls. Vegas has them to surround the casinos. Elsewhere they are a tribute to the inexorable fate of capitalism. Huge, wasteful, pointless investments in past technologies. With none of the romance of old railway stations which can be revamped as museums, or – ok – shopping malls.

My prediction would be that International Village and Lansdowne would be the next to go.  Aberdeen (illustrated above) seems to defy gravity.

Written by Stephen Rees

July 28, 2017 at 8:05 pm

Posted in placemaking, Urban Planning

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  1. The plans for Lansdowne’s redevelopment / demolition are apparently quite advanced.
    There are rendering in this article from Feb 10, 2017:


    August 4, 2017 at 1:33 pm

  2. “Eventually, Hazelbridge Way and Cooney Road will be extended across the site and a new east-west road will dissect the 50-acre site. ”

    Well, that’s progress. I can remember being in a meeting of the planners and the mall’s representatives during consultations on the City Centre plan. They refused to permit even a couple of arrows pointing across the site to show where a future grid completing road was “needed”.

    I hope they move quicker than my now local mall (Arbutus) where plans are even now changing in the hopes of even more density and higher towers. Most of the mall has now been demolished and a new extension to Yew Street started.

    Stephen Rees

    August 4, 2017 at 1:50 pm

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