Letter: Mall misery

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The Independent Culture
Sir: As an inner-city resident in the UK, currently working in the US, I was most interested in your timely coverage of the issue of out-of-town development ("The mall that ate Manchester", 2 September).

It is hardly surprising that major retailers clamour to move to new out- of-town premises, out of a desire to expand their businesses in a limited market. However, you are right to point out that these developments lead to the devastation of city centres.

A brief acquaintance with some of the cities of North America, where city centres have given way to block after block of bleak dereliction, with attendant poverty and crime, illustrates vividly the potential risks of unrestricted out-of-town investment.

Some may think the UK will be immune to this problem, or consider any such risk a price well worth paying, in order to reap rich commercial rewards, and much more questionably, to increase customer convenience. Others, however, who wish city centres to remain home to vibrant cultural life, may well disagree.


Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge