While new privately-owned shopping malls are being added to our cities with a claim to compensate for the shortage of public realm, they tend to catalyse the exclusive nature of public spaces. Although such spaces claim to be gender-inclusive, they cater only to a specific income group within the city.
Privatised-public spaces have become the new identity of public place.
Select Citywalk Mall ©Navni Kumar
Taking a case example of Delhi, a city that has transformed and evolved over centuries and is said to be in its eight avatar in the 21st Century. Today, the city claims to provide the best of both worlds to shopaholics; inexpensive streets and extravagant boutiques, traditional and contemporary, routine and tourist leisure. A closer look at the marketplaces (Chandni Chowk, Connaught Place, Khan Market, Sarojini Nagar) indeed reaffirms the claim. However, the experiential analysis narrates a story of exclusion.
A public space should be accessible to all people.
Connaught Place, Delhi ©Prato9x
While street markets are being perceived as unsafe for women, privatised public spaces are the new trend in cities. The controlled environments generated by such privatised public spaces are conducive for a specific audience, thereby damaging the idea of ‘public’ within a city. The demand for public spaces that allow diverse experiences to the people remains unaddressed.
Janpath Market ©D'Source