3227: Ethnographic Study

The place I chose to study was the shopping mall near my home. It has been around for the longest time and I am so familiar with it that I don’t need to go there to know what there is there.

Side entrance

Side entrance of Parkway Parade

I’m aware that even though it is largely the same as years ago, it has been doing renovations and revamping the mall to increase the amount of spaces that shops can rent. There have been some shops that come and go, but there is never anything that made me feel that I HAVE to go there, other than groceries.

As it is approaching Chinese New Year, I found that there was a sort of “carnival” going on at the mall.


CNY Structure outside Parkway Parade
CNY Structure outside Parkway Parade
Stalls in the Mall

Stalls in the Mall

This is something that Parkway Parade does every now and then to add more life to the mall. With seasonal “events” happening, they would be better able to attract people to come and patronize the mall.

When people patronize malls, I believe there are 3 main ways they do it:

1. They know what they need and they go to those places to get it

2. They don’t know what they need, they just wander around and see what catches their eye

3. They know what they need, but would take detours to see interesting things that catch their eye

For Number 1, that tends to be how I patronize malls. I tend to know what I need to get, such as a gift, or a haircut, and I go to the appropriate places to get them, and I leave. For people like me, the mall is purely a functional location. There is little incentive to explore and further engage with the place beyond what our purposes are.

For Number 2,  it tends to be people who visit the mall for the first time. This allows them to get a good idea of what the mall offers so that the next time they come back, they know what to expect. For some other people, they may have been here before and know what is offered, but they come to just wander as they are too bored at home or have nothing else to do.

For Number 3, it would reflect the average patron who comes for a purpose but allows for additional detours and time to be spent just looking around for interesting things. It is one way they use to continue to keep up to date with the place and keep themselves entertained by exploring the mall.

I noticed that there were may patrons to the mall checking out the directory.

20130202_135615 20130202_135832

This could be because they are first time patrons. It could also be a case that they are not sure where to go, and wish to look at the directory to have a “menu of things” they can do and choose from.

Thinking around this idea, the concept of “Exploration” strikes me. Exploration is interesting and fun. But for a already visited place, it sort of loses its meaning. For a mall like this with many shops, there are definitely things that an individual does not know about and may be interesting to them.

Perhaps an idea could be built around the fact that there are many items in this mall and there could be some sort of quest system built into this so that when people like myself walk into a mall, we can explore the mall in a very directed way instead of just wandering.






One response to “3227: Ethnographic Study”

  1. ludicmutation says :

    Perceptive observations–the challenge for you will be to make this place you know so well exciting again.

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