March 31 2014

3rd Avenue of Limoilou, Quebec, Canada: The Future of the Mall

3rd Avenue in Limoilou, Canada

The shopping mall is dead, long live the shopping avenue! That is what an article from January 13th, written by Marie-Ève Fournier for the Montreal newspaper La Presse, seemed to declare.

We already know that far from being strictly utilitarian spaces, shopping malls are also destinations for enjoying yourself. Young parents can walk around with a stroller away from bad weather, and older people can sit down and observe the surroundings for a few hours. Consumers therefore consume space as much as they consume the products they are looking for. In Quebec City, the model of the Saint-Roch Mall has become an influential example due to the fact that after being transformed into an indoor mall, it was dismantled in favor of a more traditional street where shopping can coexist with other activities.

According to the successful shopping mall owner Rick J. Caruso, “Within the next 10-15 years, the traditional indoor shopping mall will be a memory – a historical anachronism that no longer meets the needs of consumers or retailers,” nor those of cities. That is unless it manages to completely reinvent itself from now on. According to this manager of the world’s most profitable shopping centers, the decline of the traditional mall is surprisingly not only caused by the increase of purchases made on the internet. Rather, it is also due to consumers’ need for socializing and a sense of community.

The Quartier DIX30 Shopping Center in Montreal, Canada

In his most open centers, the entrepreneur reproduced the atmosphere of important shopping streets, installed fountains, developed public spaces, and invested in architecture. There is even a tramway there,” noted Fournier in her recent article.

This therefore means that despite failing contribute to the creation of pedestrian-oriented cities in the US during recent years, the developers behind shopping malls are now imitating ancient and traditional cities, which are oriented around local services. The Quartier DIX30 on the South Shore of Montreal is a perfect example of this kind of “false” city where there are attempts to recreate a “false square,” and false public places in order to attract a younger, more urban clientele, while still allowing people to use their cars!

It is therefore not difficult to make a connection with Limoilou’s 3rd Avenue, which corresponds perfectly with these criteria. With its spirit of community, fully-grown trees, welcoming sidewalks and fronts, it radiates a sense of authenticity that no shopping mall could manage to reproduce.

The shopping center is dead, long live the shopping avenue!

Aside from shopping malls, which other spaces could benefit from designs and concepts centered around social interaction?

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Marcus Khoury

Marcus Khoury is a recent graduate of the University of California Los Angeles, where he obtained a B.A. in French & Francophone Studies. Aside from his native Michigan, Marcus has lived in several states, in addition to France and Chile. Owing to his experiences with a variety of cultures, languages, and environments, he has always been keenly interested in how the exchange of ideas between different cities, regions, and countries helps to shape both physical and cultural landscapes. His linguistic background, in addition to his interest in the diversity of international urban environments and experiences, has led Marcus to fill the position of French Language Translator at The Grid, where he will be translating and presenting French language material involving environmental design.

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 31st, 2014 at 9:23 am and is filed under Infrastructure, Landscape Architecture, Social/Demographics, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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