How green is your mall?

Cover: Walkable City
Let’s hear it for mall walking!

“Are you from Milwaukee?” asked the assistant attending to my very early morning coffee needs at a mall near one of my favourite libraries. My brain raced into overdrive – did I look Milwaukeean? Had I in fact been to Milwaukee in this life or a past one and conveniently forgotten?

It was not yet 8:30 – and I could not answer the first question of the day. It looked set to be a challenging twenty four hours. But I got it in the end: “No, I’m not from Mall Walking” I replied, at which my coffee almost doubled in price.

We’re all in the grip of Rebuild Christchurch fever right now. You can’t open The Press nowadays without being hit around the chops with all things green. We want to walk along the Avon, bicycle our thighs into submission and grow vertical gardens.  And the library has the books for you to become something of an authority on this topic:

But what about our indoor spaces – how green are they? Winter is on its way and the call of the mall is strong. And this is where mall walking comes in. It’s a popular new trend, with both Northlands Mall and Westfield Mall allowing walkers in from 8am to walk in the safety and comfort of their deserted precincts.

In the interests of local research I joined a Mall Walking Group.  Initially it felt strange to be tramping in such a cavernous space with so many shuttered shops. I allowed myself a James Bond fantasy moment involving Daniel Craig, but was pulled quickly back to earth by the snippets of pensioner conversation that drifted past.

After a few laps I stopped for my legitimately earned reduced-price coffee. I thought how easy it would be to snidely deride the mall walkers. Yet were I in a foreign city watching early morning Tai Chi in a mall, I would be raising my cappuccino in support, whilst penning tetchy Letters to the Editor on the greening of our malls!

But, how about you – how green is your mall and will you be striding through it any time soon?

13 thoughts on “How green is your mall?

  1. Gallivanta 17 February 2013 / 1:51 pm

    Wonder if Mall Walking has actually caught on in Milwaukee? I think I will google that right now🙂

    • robertafsmith 17 February 2013 / 2:52 pm

      I gather it is an American “thing” – wonder if it also takes place in Asian, British and European malls?

      • Gallivanta 17 February 2013 / 4:30 pm

        I have found a mall walking site in Singapore and one in Leeds. The Mall in Leeds does Line dancing as well. BUT, how many malls have libraries in them? That might be a first for you folk!

  2. heleweli 17 February 2013 / 4:59 pm

    I think I’ll definitely give Mall Walking a go during those cold Gary winter months especially if there is a latte at the end of the “walk out”

    • robertafsmith 17 February 2013 / 5:02 pm

      It felt good Helen. Strap on your pedometer and give it a bash!

  3. heleweli 17 February 2013 / 5:00 pm

    Oops should say cold grey winter days, hard to imagine with the summer we are experiencing

  4. robertafsmith 17 February 2013 / 5:01 pm

    Line Dancing in malls! Good Grief ….. How about mall walking at airports, now that I could get into!

  5. Joy 18 February 2013 / 11:35 am

    One of those cauliflower headed oldies would have been my Mum if it was Northlands Mall. Of course you can’t answer that as that would disclose your favourite library eh? She does her circuits under duress. At 88 she needs to keep moving I told her. No tree roots, no dodgy footpaths, coffee and company, its warm and I know where she is every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

    • robertafsmith 18 February 2013 / 12:35 pm

      I was there on a Tuesday morning, everyone looked very chipper. Maybe her endorphins had kicked in!

  6. Joy 18 February 2013 / 11:37 am

    Oh I read again, its only ONE of your favourite libraries. Very tactful Roberta.

  7. hannakatenz 13 September 2016 / 11:35 am

    Hello! My name is Hanna and I’m a student journalist at Canterbury University. I was just reading your blog as I’m doing a story on mall walking. I was hoping to ask you a few questions about it! Look forward to hearing back from you. Thanks!

    • robertafsmith 13 September 2016 / 11:49 am

      Hi Hanna, That was a while back and I only did it that once. It is organised through Mall Management and it is still ongoing I believe. Maybe contact them?

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