April 23, 2014

Puzzle Pic: Where is this ‘hypermarket’ proposed for?

In Europe, they call this a hypermarket:



From Cities for People:

The Mid-West in the 1950’s? Could be, but it’s the prospect of a new project in Hillerød, north of Copenhagen; an example of the bizarre type of nostalgia that still exists in Denmark, while other countries are busy rethinking retail.

While we think it’s only in North America that these car-dependent projects are built (I’m looking at you, Tsawwassen Mills), it was actually in France that big-box retail, out in the suburbs, served by arterials and expressways, got its start.

 The first hypermarket was created by Carrefour in 1963, at Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, France.

Here it is today:



Apparently, Denmark is envious.

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  1. One of the big failures of European climate policy has been transportation. Simply put, lots of great things have happened in city centers, even in smaller cities, but the road building to facilitate sprawl has not stopped.

    We need to learn from Europe’s failures, as well as successes.

  2. Just for some context, the hypermarkets in Europe started at a time when people shopped for groceries at many different specialty stores. Putting them under one roof was a concept already familiar in North America – the supermarket. They have got bigger over time, just as the Walmart format has also gotten bigger over time. I checked the size of the Carrefour in the photo – almost certainly not the original building – and it is 14,000 square metres. The Superstore on 12th and Rupert is about 12,500 square metres for comparison.

  3. Well thats interesting. Here in Perth, Australia we talk of being very progressive in our town planning – new urbanist, transit-oriented, main streets etc. but take almost any new town centre constructed in the last decade and it looks identical (at least from the air) to the original Carrefour. I wonder if we too are nostalgic for the good ol’ age of the automobile or maybe we are still in it?

  4. The age of the car & “sprawl” will be with us for quite some time as not everyone wants to live in condos in dense cities. Many prefer a house with a yard. City planners have to accommodate both dense centers and less dense leafy neighborhoods ( also referred to as the suburbs or “sprawl” )