We could divide the shopping world into essentials, such as food, and inessentials, like fashion accessories, but both are subject to the same forces. The competition to generate desire spills out into the landscape of cities and helps shape them. The city then becomes a desire-inducing machine. It needs to draw attention to itself for its local, national and international audiences, and a repertoire has emerged to make this happen. At its core lies shopping and culture.
Property prices are the core driver of this urban development. Retailing is the main driver of its changing shape and look. Creating the destination is the goal, generating the experience the means. The aim is to craft an experience that has rich layers that mean something. Much as people try to give products or brands depth, they still have a hollow ring as consuming, in the final analysis, has limited value. A pair of shoes is just that - a pair of shoes. Even though staying in that 'special' boutique hotel, eating refined food and going to that seductive lounge bar might be great, in the end does it give longer-term sustenance? Generating associational richness is the challenge and the city itself needs to play its part in keeping the machine speeding along. And there are alternative strategies here - one shouts louder through its sign and symbol system, another more quietly so as to project class. Yet interwoven in most strategies are arts institutions and cultural facilities as is evidenced by every single city-marketing brochure, which highlights
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