Wondering how much shopping malls in the UK now resemble some sort of medieval fortress re-imagined as a safe haven for endless peaceful shopping. This post was prompted by a visit to what was then the newly opened Stratford Westfield several months ago.
What I noticed riding a bicycle to Westfield Stratford was that the building was situated as if atop a large mound, riding past security checks and across a narrow bridge which rose up over the emerging Olympic building site I felt like I was going across a drawbridge which could be blocked at any point. The site seemed protected on one side by the A12 motorway, the other the by multiple railway lines with most pedestrian access coming across a long narrow foot bridge.
I’ve used this Wikipedia list of UK shopping centres as my reference point, top five listed by size below.
1. MetroCentre (image source)
2. Trafford Centre (image source)
3. Westfield Stratford City (image source)
5. Westfield London
While these images seem to show a certain trend, Westfield London and some which aren’t shown (like the Manchester Arndale) seem at first glance to buck the trend. Instead of being cutoff by motorways, railways and large pieces of water they seem well integrated into the urban fabric. Would be interesting of course is to establish how far they are actually integrated as opposed to just seeming to be part of the city.