Taipei and Singapore
Have you been to Taipei?
What's your first impression?
I love it! I'm a city walker. I enjoying getting lost in the side and back streets of Taipei!
Some of my Singaporean colleagues hate it though... Not used to it.
I still remember my first business trip there.
When I walk down the street near my hotel, I see residential apartment blocks mixed in with office buildings, over here there's a car repair shop, next to it some eateries, then further down more workshops, and lo and behold, a small night market hidden from the main road!
Eh... What happen to zoning and urban planning?
In case you not aware, Taipei is one of the star example if you want to find a city that has "grown" organically bottom-up to suit the needs of the city dwellers.
Singapore of course is the opposite.
We take pride in our cookie-cutter top down urban planning where no hair is ever misplaced. Everything is planned years in advanced. Those interested can take a look at URA's Master Plans for the future.
No surprises. No spontaneity.
But we win awards.
Strata-titled versus mall management
When it comes to Singapore shopping centres, I am impressed by those that are managed by CapitaLand.
Why even in Shanghai, the Raffles City Shanghai opposite People's Square is now a landmark there. Makes me feel at "home" during my 4 years there.
It shows the power of top-down centrally planned mall management - when it works!
Of course, there are poor poseurs for mall management at some of our shopping centres. We know it immediately when we enter. Something feels off..
I have a habit of going to the information counter to check who is the mall management. Occupation hazard, I guess...
Then there are the strata-titled shopping centres. Some are doing well; some suffering badly.
Let's take Queensway Shopping Centre in my backyard. Its still thriving all these years! Despite having no anchor tenant and no being able to chose your tenant mix. Everything is like pot-luck!
It's not top-down centrally planned, but organically grown bottom-up a bit like Taipei city.
However, if we look at Holland Village Shopping Centre, another strata-titled mall, things are not looking so rosy..
Grasshopper and Ant
Need I say more?
You fill in the blank yourself.