Monday, April 11, 2005

New Urbanism and the Village-Mall

There is a swank new mall down the road from where I live. A mall of very different stripe too. Open courtyards, landscaped gardens with fountains and wishing wells, community halls, a petting zoo and a toy train. The stores almost seem an afterthought. The place has the feel of a village. This is the first example of New Urbanism that I have seen.

"If we can repair the physical fabric of our everyday world, many of the damaged and abandoned institutions of our civic life may follow into restoration." says James Kunstler making his case for new urbanism. There a certain serenity about this place that I have not felt at malls elsewhere.

In fact peace and calm are not feelings I have come to associate with a trip to the mall. There are more people outside sunning themselves in the courtyard than there are inside shopping which may not augur well for the stores themselves. The alfresco bistros and restaurants do brisk business though.

That the lure of tempting consumer goods does not draw the would-be shopper quite as much as the bare wooden bench by a fountain exemplifies the point Kunstler makes. It is perhaps for a reason that the local Buddhist Sangha holds it's meetings at the community center here.

1 comment:

Reshmi said...

somehow such thots always remind me of "100 yrs of solitude"..... maybe its just me tho :-P

btw - really liked ur style of writing - short write-ups with just the right dose of food for thot!!