Blurred Lines
March 26, 2015

It does not really matter to the person on foot what is private or public, or who owns or controls what, if the end result is a pleasant environment for people.

Let's blur the lines as we blend between a street, a covered street, an arcade, and a mall;

I love malls, unlike many urbanists. Perhaps it is because they provide a 100% human-oriented sanctuary from the hypertrophic environment outside;

The same can be said for suburban malls, because most malls are;

  1. Fine grained. You have a vast number of destinations within walking distance.
  2. 100% place. Space is highly utilized - there is very little exposed infrastructure or dedicated vehicular roadways taking up space or making you feel out of place.
  3. Indoors. You are in a comfortable climate regardless of it is raining, shining, freezing, or blistering hot outdoors. (I was really grateful for this when I used to buy lunch everyday from a food court.)

There is no reason a city cannot provide all of the above. But, if that is the case, would a traditional city environment with plenty of covered fine grained narrow streets largely make urban malls obsolete?

America's best city planners are off building university campuses, amusement parks, zoos, and mega-malls.


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What is 7 + 4 ?

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Felix Alexander • 03.27.2015 • 17:37 PM (MDT)
Too right. When I'm walking from Swanston St to Melbourne Central Station, I can't tell whether I'm inside or outside when I'm going through the various parts of Melbourne Central shopping centre. Deep inside a large building, but with natural sunlight, a brick building, the floor paved the same way as the street outside, and you can frex wheel a bike there on your way to to the station which you can't normally do inside. Mind you, you only have to go around the corner from these places and there's giant roads with roaring traffic, light sequences that favor half a dozen people in cars over dozens on foot, "transport malls" with barriers to stop people walking across and other signs of abject failure. (These were supposed to be new "squares", "public open spaces", but you can't walk across them.