🚲 Excellent blog post by my friend @rachelmsquirrel about the value of bike paths, and a hopeful new outlook for central Aberdeen:

Thanks, that was interesting.

One thing the blog doesn't touch on is the entertainment nature of malls. Malls are often used as a form of entertainment for the whole family, which includes shopping, eating and sometimes there are performance arts.

You are also protected from the weather when you go to a mall, which is probably an important factor in Scotland.

@fitheach These are good points. I think it's true that not all malls are awful. And some malls aren't just about frenzied shopping – I don't share as much hatred for them as Rachel!

@fitheach My folks live in Singapore, where I currently am right now. They make a much better job of malls here than back in the UK. There's always lots of public space, usually an entertainment/performance art aspect, always a food court with lots of good, cheap places to eat. They're also a place to take respite from the heat – an inverse version of what one faces in Scotland!

Yup. @sohkamyung has posted some stories about things malls have done to attract shoppers in Singapore.

I don't see a whole lot of difference between malls and high streets, except malls are typically controlled by the developer or some other central authority. Interestingly, I have noticed that some councils have encouraged "High Street Managers" for exactly the same reason. Inverness had a HSM, and may still have one.

@jacklenox I believe @fitheach might be referring to the soon to be reopened Funan Mail in Singapore which I posted about recently.

It has interesting features like a built-in cycling path and a rooftop urban farm.

Here's an article about it [ ].

@fitheach @sohkamyung Aha. I've been walking past Funan on a very regular basis!

I think Rachel's ire about malls is more focused on the crappy out-of-town shopping centres that are effectively only accessible by car and tend to be divorced from any sense of community or civic engagement.

With Singapore being a city-state, it doesn't have crappy out-of-town shopping centres. All the malls are in central locations and are thus very different.

@fitheach @sohkamyung But certainly some city centre malls in the UK are more like what you find in Singapore. E.g. Trinity in Leeds, Victoria Square in Belfast. These are also kind of remodelled high streets.

I do see a difference between high streets and malls like Bluewater, Lakeside and the Trafford Centre though.

I'd like to see more arcades! These are the perfect high street/mall crossover solution for town and city centres.

@jacklenox @sohkamyung
I noted that Bluewater and Lakeside have 13,000 parking spaces each. I should think that number of parking spaces must rival what is typically available in small cities.

The few times I have entered arcades they seem to be populated with boutique style shops with niche products and higher prices. For example, the Argyll Arcade in Glasgow which mostly has expensive jewellers.

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