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Spatial Logic of Shopping Malls: Application of Space Syntax in understanding Economics of Architecture

Sumanta Deb, Keya Mitra
Published: 27 January 2020
Creative Space , Volume 7, pp 109-117; doi:10.15415/cs.2020.72009

Abstract: Research findings of architecture and environmental psychology espouse the supremacy of built environment in influencing human behavior in general and movement behavior within buildings and urban areas in particular. Retail management studies on the other hand highlight the importance of influencing human movement as a determining factor for tenant-mix design. Identifying a proper mix of tenant stores in a shopping mall is responsible for its economic performance and is considered a strategic mall management decision. In practice, this decision is taken by management professionals, based mostly on gut feeling or rule of thumb. So, there is a scope for integration of knowledge of these two different disciplines for significantly enhancing tenanting decision making in shopping malls, which will ultimately lead to its economic success. A proper methodology is required in this juncture to relate spatial configuration with movement. Verbal description of space, prevalent in the architectural practice, makes it difficult for correlating with measurable variables like footfall. Space syntax analysis is a potential evidence based approach for quantitative description of configuration in explaining movement through space. The purpose of this paper is twofold: identifying the supremacy of space syntax measures over normal metric measures and establishing a spatial rationale behind tenanting decision making (optimal area and rent of tenant stores) through developing the standard bid-rent model with tenant store specific variables and solving under the conditions of maximizing profit and situation of perfect competition. Consequently, retail space planning will not only be an accommodator of functional requirements but will be a potential tool for economic success through generating, controlling and predicting movement.
Keywords: Behavior / Built environment / Retail / space syntax / economic success / Supremacy / tenanting decision making

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