WHAT CAN HIGH STREETS LEARN FROM SHOPPING MALLS?

WHAT CAN HIGH STREETS LEARN FROM SHOPPING MALLS?

High streets are important, both for community and for place. They help define an area as being more than a collection of homes, but over time many they have lost their way, and yet shopping malls wouldn’t be around today if it wasn’t for the high street. SHOPPING MALLS EVOLVED FROM HIGH STREETS.  My childhood was spent in a small town in North Devon. My local high street had free parking, but it was only a 15 minute walk from home, it had 2 cinemas, record shops, food shops, clothes shops, shoe shops, 1950’s style diners, ‘ye olde tea shoppe’, general stores, toy shops, 3-4 sweet shops, fishmongers, butchers, ‘fruit and veg’ shops, bakers, (note the plurals) stationers, amusements, book shops that specialized in certain different types of books, a library, restaurants, lots of bars and hotels and various markets. The signs were often hand painted, real works of skill, there was pride in how the shops looked and how goods were displayed. What worked especially well was that the bakers were close to one another, ‘fruit and veg’ shops were close to one another and all the restaurants were grouped together. The pavements were narrow, but because similar shops were nearby (and we used our own bags back then which were easier to carry) it made it easier to shop. The high street was logical, it made sense, the service was friendly, we knew many of the shop owners by name, there was a feeling of community and it looked great. If a shop didn’t have what you wanted, they would order it for you. In addition to...