A NEW GUIDE TO BALANCING MOBILITY AND HUMANITY ON MAIN STREET
Case Studies 

Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

*Nominee 

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet

Ashford

Kent

United Kingdom

Contributed by 
Harriet Festing
Project for Public Spaces
 on 
January 7, 2002
December 14, 2017

World-renowned architect Richard Rogers creates the largest continuous tented structure in the world - for a megamall.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

The outlet is one of those buildings I feel I ought to like - it could almost be mistaken for a circus ground or sports stadium from the distance. It's a circular structure, with shops around the outside and the carpark in the middle. And yet I can't help shuddering every time I see it. What makes it so awful? It's the nothing-ness you feel when you go by. The place is passive, cultureless and commercially bland. The central 'square' is a car park, the air filled with awful piped-in music, and the people walking past have blank expressions.

Access & Linkages

There may be cycle routes, bus links and railway access - but don't be fooled, it's designed wholely for cars.

Comfort & Image

The circular, corridor design creates a strange chill where ever you are, and the strong focus on cars (filling the center) blinds the eyes. There's no obvious place to sit, unless you want to consume fast food.

Uses & Activities

There's a cold windy food hall where you can eat fast food, and a reasonably good children's playground, but other than that, it's just shops. If they'd included an outdoor cafe, it would have been slightly more bearable.

Sociability

The Designer Outlet is not a kind place.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Ashford Borough Council (the local government) fought long and hard to get the Outlet built. They were keen to put Ashford 'on the map' and to provide retail shopping to a local population who frequently complained about the limited range of shops in the town. The Outlet offers manufacturers' end-of-season stock, surplus to high-street store requirements at typically 30/50% off recommended retail prices. Although it is located next to the international passenger station, the 1700 parking spaces for cars and elaborate motorway links say alot about how people get there.

Related Links & Sources

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

NOMINATE A PLACE

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A NEW GUIDE TO BALANCING MOBILITY AND HUMANITY ON MAIN STREET