So: the verdict is back, and the commissioners of the Council have agreed to the building of a new Mall in Johnsonville. And they’re also now formally seeking your feedback on the deletion of the Mall in Manners St. Apart from the name, there are very few similarities between them.
I confess that I’m a wee bit surprised at the go-ahead for the J’ville Mall, given that the economy has tanked, and that CBD businesses must have been dead against it. We discussed it reasonably intensively before, to push for the Notified Resource Consent hearing – which subsequently did indeed happen – and to give local J’villians a decent chance to comment. We’ve not seen the figures, but I’d hazard a guess that most of J’ville would be all for it. After all, it’s such a chore to have to get in the car or bus or train and drive down to town – at least here they will be able to walk to the local mall, park on the roof, and shop to their heart’s content. To a large extent, urban space and architecture be damned.

I’m curious about the whole Mall thing – renown overseas for the phenomena of boring Mall Rats and Dead Malls and endless carparks. For my money, anyone that wants to shop in a Mall is welcome to it – a soulless experience at the best of times, and a soul-destroying experience at the worst of times, but some people like them.

Now the public democratic process has played out and the result is full steam ahead, what have we ended up with?
I’m not sure if the plan has changed much, or at all, from the previous posting we put up. While the exterior looks just the same, I had hopes that perhaps a more logical plan of public space may have prevailed by the developer’s architects: the weird horseshoe loop of space and curiously truncated walkway through still remains intact. Contrary to what was noted in the press, not all at Council were glowing happily at the prospect – from what I understand, certain advisors at Council had fought long and hard to try and get a better urban design outcome in both plan and elevation, but were ultimately over-ruled. There have also been urban design exercises going on at the School of Architecture, any number of which showed potentially far more promise of excitement than the bland result we have here: and certainly a lot more integration with the local community. If only they could have shown their work to the developers and malleteers.

We’ll post more here when we find out more.

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