Localities since time immemorial have been defined by the people that live in it or the type of landmarks that are around it. Sometimes localities are synonymous to the high streets that surround it. Highstreets define the culture, the flavour and to an extent the psychography of the cohort residing there. A place becomes special because of local food, the local chocolates or art. These creative entrepreneurs have their own niche and create distinct character of the city. They would never be found in malls because the big conglomerates tend to crowd out small players. Some of the examples that would provide testimony for the same would be Oxford Street (London), Hill road (Mumbai), Tsim Sha Tsui (Hong Kong), Ginza (Tokyo) & Champs-Élysées (Paris). A lot of retail therapy has shifted to malls. However many malls have had to even shut shop, but it’s the high streets that have stood the test of time and have been successful.
It’s the high streets that will contribute in a great way to the governments ‘Make in India’ initiative. Owing to the evident footfalls, retailers will be forced to setup their businesses here. Moreover, these lanes which display art, craft and other retail products hailing from the very grass roots of India will attract tourists from all corners of the globe. It will provide an enormous push towards the entrepreneurial culture that is being promoted in the country
Commercial activity of shopping, retail cafes allows small entrepreneurs to come up with innovative offers, pioneering ideas and also gives the life to the street to make the whole walk more interesting and more interactive. High streets are the finest examples of how the entire community lives together. From a tiny newspaper vendor to a big brand all survive in harmony on these streets. There are families that make memories on these streets, who share moments of joy and togetherness sitting and eating-out at the flourishing eateries, as against going astray in the mad rush of malls.
I would like to end this blog post by talking about Hiranandani, Powai. With Central Avenue we have created a pedestrian high street. In 1990 we actually went to a newspaper vendor and gave him a hole in the wall to help in distributing the newspaper and magazine. With the aim of encouraging local entrepreneurs we welcomed mom and pop shops as well.