The birth of a coordinated retail development did not occur until the early twentieth century, in North America. In the relatively short time since, however, the form and style of such developments have been a dynamic which is constantly changing. This is particularly true of the developments now coming forward in Britain, in the early twenty-first century.
Some would argue that the covered mall is an alien insertion into the historic fabric of our towns and cities, and it is true that some malls do turn their backs on the rest of the city centre. Many commentators would also wish that shopping centres were more successful in linking to the rest of the city centre ensuring permeability.
The changing nature of town centre regeneration schemes has however brought new opportunities. As the drive towards mixed use schemes has increased, so the industry - from planners to developers and architects - have embraced the 'New Agenda', with open streets and spaces, and diversity in design as opposed to the monoliths of old.
From 2000 Exeter has worked collaboratively with Land Securities, their architects, English Heritage and CABE, to deliver mixed use development to a contemporary design.
The EHTF conference will showcase the completed Princesshay which was 95% let at opening. The scheme received critical acclaim from English Heritage's Urban Panel as 'an exemplar of how major regeneration schemes can enrich the fabric of major historic cities in delivering urban design and architectural excellence of the highest quality'.
Delegates will have the opportunity to consider the challenge and opportunities accommodating large scale developments in sensitive locations.
Stephen Wehrle, Property Director,
Land Securities and
John Rigby, Director, Economy & Development,
Exeter City Council