Canadians were in decades recent nothing if not awesome builders of shopping malls. Most of the big regional ones are getting long in the tooth and attention turns now to what they will be going forward. At least three big ones lying westward of Toronto are currently undergoing conventional renovations to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars to make them ever slicker seducers of shoppers. More parking, upgraded branding, expanded hours and other attractions are being deployed almost as if a war was on between the consumatoria in question. Some malls, perhaps nervous of a financially stressed population, retail saturation and the demographics of aging, as well as the simple appearance of opportunity, are now adding housing to the mix.
Instead of driving there and hanging out you can now live at the mall. This idea holds value. Why not eliminate short motor vehicle trips to make retail purchases? Doing so saves money and fuel and reduces pollution. A large mall with a condo slapped on top will have more viability because the patrons of its shops and services live steps away, so might the employees.
How ironic and positive that the increased density cherished by fans of European style city living comes to be facilitated by that most suburban and North American of built structures, the mall. Is this not a good thing? A first year architecture student is probably capable of coming up with the right approach to segregated entrances and other little details of layout that maximize the benefits of this possibility. The mall is dead. Long live the mall!
image: Home, sweet home? Brentwood Shopping Centre in Burnaby, BC by Arnold C via Wikimedia Commons