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World's biggest shopping malls

Hamburg, Feb 07, 2012 - The economic boom in Asia is reflected in the development of modern temples of consumerism. Nine out of ten of the world’s biggest shopping malls are located in Asia. Offering much more than “shop till you drop” opportunities – malls are becoming amusement parks and lifestyle centers surrounded by shops.

Leading building experts from Emporis.com generated the Top 10 rankings, which are based on the gross leasable area, the area used for revenue-generating activities. Historically, malls have always been the icons of America – the first mall ever was built in Minneapolis in 1956. However, Asia’s economic boom has resulted in the rise of consumerism and the development of mega-malls. Nowadays, Asia has more malls than America, and the two largest are located in China.

The dimensions of the malls is demonstrated in this comparison: the second biggest mall, Golden Resources Mall, has an area of 557.419 m², the size of about 75 soccer fields.

But some mega-malls in Asia are experiencing problems. New South China Mall is the biggest mall in the world with 600.153 m² of shopping space – most of it empty, with little consumer traffic and a high vacancy rate. It has been classified as a “dead mall”.

In recent years, developers have invented new ways for the mega-mall to survive in this economy. Gone is the store-dominated shopping centre welcoming instead, an age of mixed-use “lifestyle centres”. The Dubai Mall offers an ice-rink and aquarium on an area of 350.244 m². The Persian Gulf Complex, once completed, will house an indoor amusement park, prayer room and helipad.

Another strategy calls for ways to combine environmental solutions with architecture. An indoor rainforest with koi ponds and the largest rooftop garden in Southeast Asia was implemented by 1 Utama mall in Malaysia. CentralWorld in Thailand features an indoor salt-water lake with sea lions. Trends to include office and residential space, such as the Cehavir Mall in Turkey, are also a survival method of mega-malls.

The discovery that our patterns of consumption can be socially engineered has changed the mall’s architecture. Especially the new lifestyle centres present an effective way to motivate shoppers and to turn losses into profit.

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