ST Forum page letter

Too many malls, not enough shoppers: forum letter writer

ST Forum page letter
ST Forum page letter

The sight of so many shopping malls around this tiny island is an observable fact which is starting to concern some.

A letter to the Straits Times Forum page on Monday has expressed concerns that these malls are not only taking up our limited number of green spaces, they are also turning the shopping experience into a banal one.

“There are far too many stores and malls in Singapore, and not enough shoppers,” Ms Diana Ong Ing Cheng wrote.

She said that as vacancy rates rise, these malls are adjusting their tenant mix, but they end up bringing in the same types of tenants, such as food and beverage outlets and tuition centres.

“These malls actually look desolate, and shopping is becoming utterly banal,” she said.

She cited the “large parcel of land in Holland Road” which is “slated to offer more retail and dining options to enhance the area’s buzz, as well as create new community spaces for people to gather and interact.”

“The site is currently a beautiful plot of green space,” Ms Ong said. “Instead of adding to the oversaturated retail and food and beverage scene, couldn’t a neighbourhood park be created to serve as a community space?”

“Many green spaces have been given up to build malls,” she added.

It is a lament heard more often now in Singapore as skyscrapers, malls and flats pop up on virtually every empty plot of land here.

Indeed, some feel Singapore has become a concrete jungle, despite all the new landscaped parks which the authorities have installed.

In 2013, it was reported that by 2030, some 700,000 new public housing flats would have been built. Some of these will be in new towns such as Bidadari, Tampines North and Tengah.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan assured Singaporeans then that the quality of life will not be compromised even as Singapore develops.

But the reality may be quite different, especially as Singapore moves closer to the working parameter of a 6.9 million population – or even more – by 2030.

Various observers have thrown up figures from 8 million to 10 million as possible population targets for Singapore.

The city will inevitably be more crowded, with less personal and green spaces for each of us, and more malls, food centres, and flats needed to cater to the expansion in population on a physically limited sized land area.

According to the Government’s Land Use Plan, the aim is that Singapore will remain largely green, despite the expected increase in population.

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