Published in 5/2021 - Extensions


Photo Column: From Small to Large, Close to Far

Tuomas Uusheimo

Puotila Shopping Centre (Erkki Karvinen 1961), destined for demolition.
Puotinharju Shopping Centre (Erkki Karvinen 1964).

In the 1960s, some twenty shopping centres were planned and built in Helsinki’s new residential areas. The importance of these local centres was, above all, to provide local services. They were also accessible on foot or by bike.

The transition of the grocery trade to the large supermarkets in large shopping malls has led to the loss of customers and misery in the old local centres. In addition, failures to renovate the buildings have contributed to their state of dilapitation and given excuses for demolition: expensive land could be used for other construction.

Local shopping centres could provide an excellent platform for small businesses. Unlike the large malls, shopping centres in the suburbs are hardly part of the reason for the plight of the brick-and-mortar shops in the centre of Helsinki.

The extensive construction of large shopping malls at the expense of suburban centres feels despicable now that the social debate revolves around encouraging entrepreneurship, the vitality of residential areas, circular economy and carbon neutrality. ↙