Apparently Pat Flanagan, who is responsible for the development of many of South Africa’s major shopping centres – including Riverside Mall, Nelspruit; Somerset Mall, Somerset West; Northgate, Randburg – thinks we need more. But then I guess he would.
On an economic level, there are those that dissagree. I don’t know much about that, but on an urban level, well, malls are anti-urban! They unsustainable. They’re generally awful to look at. And unless South African developers and architects can reinvent the typology, make them more respectful of the uniqueness of place, less ‘fuck you, city’, I’m not sure we really do need any more.
If we really do need more retail facilities, which I’m sure many under-serviced areas do, then we need something other than big-box solutions. But fine-grained, sound urban solutions won’t make Pat and his ilk a lot of money fast. And that’s really what Pat’s after. Money. At the expense of the people who really live in the cities.
You want to proliferate ‘fuck you, city’ urbanism? Well, fuck you, Pat!