How Neighbourhood Shopping Centres are improving the urban experiences of the inhabitants

NEW DELHI, Jan. 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Select City Walk in Delhi, Eldeco Hi-street situated in PanipatAdani Aangan Galleria, Adani Aangan Arcade, and Adani Oyster Grande in Gurugram, AIPL Joy Street in Gurugram are setting the trend for retail design in urban India. Design Forum International, a Delhi-based architectural firm has given way to hybridisation where a mall’s energy and cost-intensive building typology are combined with the more attractive characteristics of an open bazaar. A paradigm shift was brought where the indoor shopping centre was clubbed with multifunctional public plazas.

Neighbourhood shopping centres are conventional malls and are more relaxed, primarily designed around boulevards or plazas. They are mainly a need-driven potpourri which caters to everyday shopping, sewing boutiques, electronic stores, repair shops, grocery marts, restaurants and more while hosting branded outlets.

Anand Sharma, Founder and Partner of DFI, says, “We have tried to make shopping more experiential, looking at the built environment through the lens of the users. A conscious attempt is made to design at a human scale, with the open spaces scaled proportionate to the built mass surrounding them. In many ways, it is a callback to the haats, market streets and open shopping zones of our heritage.”

Currently, neighbourhood shopping centres have already started impacting urban planning in the country. Locating large-scale, outward-facing shopping centres within a neighbourhood encourages traffic loads inside the community.

Societies that have grown organically over time, like most older Indian cities, influence the blueprint for newer towns.

The mixing of residential and commercial in an Indian context is an inevitable outcome of any segregation enforced at the planning level. Even in smaller, tier II and tier III towns, which have always been of the mixed-use kind with retail on the street level and residential above the emergence of this trend in retail spaces is visible.      

Therefore, a sectoral level of planning is required where these centres are permitted only on specific road widths and above to ensure a sustainable development model. Furthermore, from the point of view of urban planners and statutory authorities, it is essential to intersperse neighbourhood shopping centres with areas reserved purely as breather spaces open greens and zones of recreation at the neighbourhood level.

“This trend is here to stay,” concludes Sharma.

About DFI

Established in 1995, DFI, formerly known as Tevatia Chauhan and Sharma (TCS) Architects, began as a small firm practicing residential architecture design. The firm’s formative years were characterised by a spirit of growth, learning, and self-discovery, resulting from a strong emphasis on fulfilling user requirements. DFI has broken ground from humble beginnings to an established architecture practice by meeting client requirements and keeping user aspirations at the forefront.

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