Are Shopping centres becoming the ‘negative’ centre of communities?

Westfield Shopping Centre, Startford,

I notice that shopping centres seem to be popping up everywhere, even the Olympic village.

Obviously because they are popular, and part of ‘urban regeneration’. My worry is that they have a rather negative effect on people.

Shopping is the new leisure activity, retail therapy, and a way of people feeling included amongst other people, our herd instinct.

Unfortunately a trip to the shopping centre will result in most people finding there are all kinds of things they think they want, but can’t afford. Or worse still are encouraged to buy on credit and get further in debt. Very negative.

A much more positive way to satisfy our herd instinct is to join an allotment or community supported agriculture. Meeting people, getting some gentle exercise, learning about growing food and going home satisfied, with a bag of great produce.

Perhaps every shopping centre application should be coupled with an area for allotments and general fruit and veg growing? For a start make the landscapers replace the prickly shrubs and bushes with fruit and nut trees! Follow the example of Incredible Edible Todmorden. (although they had to get special planning permission to replace the shrubs in the Health Centres car park.)


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