Retail-trends, Ullanlinna style, 2

Have you ever stopped to think about the connection between the Finnish for town, kaupunki, and the Finnish for commerce and shops, kauppa? Obviously they’re related. Swedish too has handel, which also covers not just shop, but retail, commerce, trade, exchange, economics etc. So in Helsinki there is the Helsingin Kauppakorkeakoulu = “Helsinki shop high school” (if you were to put it into a translation program for instance). And have you ever stopped to think about the extent to which the state, including planners, directs what can be treated as merchandise, how and where?

At JHJ we barely stop thinking about all this. And we have often stopped to think why it is that our world view puts such a huge chasm between “culture” as things we do for conventional, almost optional reasons, and “economics” as something that’s so obvious you can’t even debate it let alone change it. Christmas is culture, i.e. optional. Economics is apparently the way the world is.

Another question that springs to mind: is there actually a decree saying that Ullanlinna must sell fancy clothes at this intensity?

There’s definitely no law that says shopkeepers must festoon their windows with shiny decorations in red, white, shiny and other traditional Christmas colours. But they do anyway. From these images one can safely conclude that Helsinki has and is cultural conventions and, maybe, that “kauppa” is massively, hugely, unavoidably all about culture.

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