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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

NZ's biggest mall? No thanks say St. Lukes residents


According to the Herald,

Westfield has been given permission to double the size of its St Lukes shopping centre, making it the country's biggest, despite protests by local residents.
(...)

Graham Dekker, an Aroha Ave resident and convener of a St Lukes community group opposing the plans, said the changes were a big blow.

"This decision is incomprehensible. There will be 10m buildings across the road from our houses which is unnecessary and not even what Westfield wanted.

If malls look bad on the outside, they are completely repulsive on the inside as well,

The stores, products and services offered are similar across different malls, and even countries, creating an undifferentiated mall culture with little room for local experience.

Furthermore, shopping malls appeal to mid- and uppermarket affluent consumers. They keep out symbolically, if not physically, “socially undesirable” parts of the population through the use of security and surveillance techniques.

In shopping malls, the material culture of capitalism creates an appearance of variety, a colourful surface, which hide the uniformity of capitalist relations and the resulting inequality and poverty.


But of course it doesn't have to be like this. In the home of the mall Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping has been leading a crusade on consumerism and chain-stores for quite some time. Perhaps we need a little of Rev. Billy's preaching down under lest we turn Auckland into a city of zombies.

In 1978 horror Dawn of the Dead zombies flock to the mall. Even in death attracted by the shrine to consumption. Asked why the zombies headed to the mall one of the remaining humans remarked: "Some kind of instinct. Memory, of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives."

Someone tell the Auckland City Council that approved this development that St. Lukes doesn't need a bigger mall.

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