Our protagonist discovers that she is part of a minority: people who like and use independent shops.
That means that the majority likes exactly the opposite. It must be so, because people all over the world, sitting down to deliberate rationally about how to respond to “what the public wants” have concluded that they want hectares and hectares of retail space all bundled up conveniently in one location. Preferably new and shiny and large, because that’s what the main chains require.
(Our protagonist has noticed a funny feature in the way people talk about shops as part of urban planning. Apparently large retail chains are “requiring” “representation” in town centre areas. This use of language has challenged our protagonist’s previous understanding of the verb to represent.
Anyway. Here are some recentish figures she also discovered.
Kamppi’s new retail space when it opened to the public in 2005: 35 000 m2
Itäkeskus, the other end of the underground: 112 000 m2
Jumbo (!), in Vantaa: 31 000 m2
To compare, there’s the new Westfield in London, an urban centre, by the way, that has more than twice the population and thus, one assumes, twice the potential customer base of the whole of Finland! Floor space 148 600 m
Ah, she discovers that retail building has been experiencing a boom. Sorry, had been, that article is from early 2008.
Then there are the dead shopping malls, scattered all over the USA (from before the recession, our protagonist discovered). As another blogger commented on one recently expired shopping cathedral, “what an amazing eyesore” and offers lovely images to support the case.
Being open-minded, some Americans have begun to think about what use dead shopping malls could be put to later.
So our protagonist contemplates what it would have been like if blogs had been available when the small shops of Helsinki began to die. If there were a website dedicated to them, what would be its message?