Curse or blessing?

NDR Documentary (2017)

Shopping malls are optimized according to all the rules of marketing, retail and finance. In Germany, Alexander Otto and his approximately 3,500 employees are building and operating more and more centers in Germany and Europe and always according to the same concept: prime location, at least 250,000 people in the catchment area, a proven mix of large and small stores and tight management, constantly optimizing, always introducing new formats and, if possible, not irritating consumers in any way. For ECE developer Jan Röttgers, one thing is clear: “There is a high demand for shopping centers on the investment market (because) there is naturally a lack of investment alternatives due to the low interest rate policy.” More and more cities are seeing malls full of invisible cameras, where people spend money undisturbed by the weather, street music or even beggars. Critics say: Malls are not meeting places for citizens, they are cool capital machines. Is there an alternative? Yes, says the mayor of Celle. He has revived his old town – based on mall concepts but without bringing one into the city.

Author: Kersten Schüßler

Camera: Ulf Behrens

Editing: Julien Prause, Christopher Rowe

Editor: Kathrin Becker (NDR)