Norway Proposes No New Suburban, Drive-To Shopping Malls
Malls like this one in Oslo, accessible by tram and on foot, are still okay.
In Norway wages have kept pace with fuel and food price hikes, so car trips haven't yet dropped drastically. To discourage driving, Environment Minister Eric Solheim has now proposed a bill that would forbid shopping centers of 3,000 square meters or more from being built along highways in Norway's suburban centers. Norwegian research has shown that 95 percent of shoppers to suburban malls arrive by car. Shopping centers would still be allowed in areas where public transport is existing or possible. The regulation, if passed, would be retroactive to this July. That 3,000 meter size, according to newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv, is just 1/12th the square footage of the latest IKEA already approved to be built in a suburb of Bergen. The government has also considered forcing shopping centers to charge shoppers to park.
"We want to prevent cities and town centers from dying out because all shopping moves out of the downtown area," Solheim said to newspaper Dagens Nærinigsliv. "And we want to limit the use of cars. We need to change community structures."