The Internet and the Built Environment

InternetWhat do all of these companies have in common?

“HMV, Woolworths, Borders, Blockbuster, Jessops, Habitat, B&Q Ireland, Gio Gio, Comet, Optical Express, Allders of Croydon, Clinton Cards, Game Group, La Senza, United Retail, Lombok, Oddbins, Monsoon Accessorize Ireland, Mothercare Australia, Virgin Megastores-FR”

More than 140 million people visit and every month. To put that into perspective each year around 200 million people visit Oxford Street and 65 million Heathrow Airport.

A recent article suggested that 15% of America’s regional malls may fail in the next five years.

Mary Portas, UK retail expert says “…the need to take action has never been clearer. Although some (UK) high streets are thriving, most have a fight on their hands. Many are sickly, others are on the critical list and some are now dead.”

Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen said “In 15 years from now half of US universities may be in bankruptcy.”

Well, why pay £12 for a book when you can order a copy from Amazon for£9? Why mortgage yourself with $50k of debt and obtain a prestigious MBA, when all the information you need is accessible for a fraction of the price?

So what happens after you leave school? You plug yourself into an online course, read online newspapers, watch movies online, don’t go out for dinner, and don’t bother to try to meet real people; you pitch for an online date, make friends on Facebook, relax with your Xbox and wait for your next online delivery to arrive. On the side you sell your high school goodies on eBay and start blogging, telling people everything they need to know about life.

If you must leave the house, at least for the foreseeable future you should be able to find a Starbucks and McDonald’s around the corner. If you absolutely have to buy something from a high street shop, you might find it at a 99p store or a Chinese Shop.

Later, you find a job, and work from home, you do not have to travel to the office (unless you work for Yahoo), just use Skype. Your LinkedIn groups would have grown substantially by now allowing you to do business with your personal network, as your last massive-open-online-course (MOOC) did not really allow you to rub shoulders with too many people.

When on holiday you look at the world through your new Google glasses and spend most of the time uploading photos unto Facebook and chatting to those you left behind. You give up the best spot on the beach for the shady area next to the beach bar to use the free Wi-Fi and see if you can improve your last selfie on Instagram.

There was no time to talk about China or the Credit Crunch, but sure you will be able to find that info on the Internet.

Useful links;

Who has gone bust?
Portas Review
Dead malls
Universities going bust


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