SHOPPING MALL AS A LEISURE DESTINATION
SCHOOL OF HOUSING, BUILDING AND PLANNING
UNIVERSITI SAINS MALAYSIA, PENANG
SUPERVISOR: DR. NURWATI BADARUZZAMAN
ASSOC. PROF. DR ABDUL GHAFAR
Shopping mall has become part of a ‘way of life’. The place is a destination frequented by many levels and age groups of people during leisure time and weekends. The intentions of going to the mall now are no longer confined to shopping for necessities in terms of foods and clothes but have expanded to the act of seeking for leisure satisfaction. The reason being that leisure in form of shopping can be achieved rather easily as it can be done casually and quite frequently without much planning and collective agreement among a group of people. In addition to that, the experience at the mall is always a surprise in a sense that there is always new activities and highlights to fulfill consumers’ expectation on every visit to the place. There is constant effort to elevate customers’ level of satisfaction by implementing plans that are meant to respond to changing consumers’ aspiration. Such efforts may include continuous infusion of new concepts and activities which resulted with programmed activities to generate festival like environments or even going to the extend of doing phases of re-modification to the soft environment of both interior and exterior of the mall involving lighting, landscaping and sound. Consumers’ needs have expanded whereby shopping mall is not just about fulfilling their basic needs but has come a long way to become a platform or environment for social exchange and entertainment. ‘ A synergy exists between socializing and shopping….. To address this social aspect of shopping., …….. aims to provide the common ground – a social hub or a place for people to meet after a day at home or at work.’ (NST press, Nov. 26, 04) Consumers now are even more demanding and are beginning to spend money on experiences. Shopping mall owners have developed awareness on these new trends of leisure and feel the needs to emphasis on creating retail environment and experiences that can continually meet consumers’ changing attitude and interests.
Experiencing creative retail environment and entertainment related activities at the shopping mall as a new form of leisure has appealed to lots of people and to the extend that the mall is perceived as an ideal urban oasis or a quick getaway. The growing awareness on how it should be treated as urban oasis for city dwellers to indulge in leisure activities to relax, meeting people and enhancing family bonding should be looked critically to compensate for limitation in public leisure places in the city.
The Evolution of Shopping Mall
A. Foundation of modern retailing.
Historically, during the early stage of civilization, people were nomadic and practiced bartering of good and services. In the period of advent of technology and agriculture, lifestyle had become stable and people’s creative mind had fostered specialization of activities and function within a permanent community. Progressive establishment of greater communities then led to the need for a proper place to sell and purchase items of necessities and self satisfaction and for that reason, market place was created. The place became the commercial center and social focal point of the early town which enabled people from the surrounding communities to access the goods and services of multiple vendors in a convenient manner. The people had the luxury to be selective and were able to compare goods based on quantity, quality and cost that initiated competition for the retailers. During the period of eighteenth and early nineteenth century, there was a moved to enclosed shopping strip which would allow for comfortable shopping activities in the presence of unfavorable climate. The enclosed space in an arcade like had...
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