The main characteristic of shopping centres is being leisure-time places, as well as a meeting point for friends and relatives thanks to the vast range of services they offer to their audience, fulfilling in turn the perfect balance between leisure and business.

Due to the current progresses in terms of technology and innovation, shopping centres will offer in the future much more leisure options, they will be more accessible, comfortable and innovative. And, still more, they will be much more sustainable.

It is possible to illustrate this example with the future Torrejón de Ardoz shopping centre in Madrid, the Open Sky, a work by Italian architect Gianni Rananulo and which inauguration is planned for the year 2018. The French company Compagnie de Phalsbourg will create one of the more unique and technologic shopping centres in Spain, following the trail of other shopping centres created by this same company. The Open Sky will be composed of 75,000 square metres, 60 stores, 2,500 car lots, as well as an area of more than 3,500 square metres meant for all types of playground, a navigable lake, open garden areas, shops, brasseries and even a concert hall for music performances.

We can find another example in the Chinese province of Jiangxi. Architect Vincent Callebaut, known for his futuristic and environment-friendly designs, has recently drawn up The Wooden Orchids, a huge shopping centre, the design of which is based on two big glassed-in buildings, connected by platforms, which are mainly characterised by the predominance of greenery and the use of solar panels to make the most of natural resources, depending as little as possible on electricity, which produces in turn less CO2 emissions and higher sustainability.

This macro shopping centre will also make use of rainwater harvesting aimed to maintain the vast extensions of green areas, as well as geothermal energy, passive cooling and recycled materials, which will help considerably in decreasing the use of conventional energies, reducing them up to 70%.

Which requirements must the shopping centres of the future meet?

According to experts, future shopping centres are in need of adapting themselves to new technologies, especially to the use of mobile technologies, envisioning the offer of a unique experience for users, and adapted to their needs. More and more users resort progressively to new technologies for the purpose of doing a search on the web or purchasing products of all types, so implementing or enhancing your e-commerce or electronic commerce has to become a main objective for such businesses.

Besides enhancing communication with clients through the Internet, future shopping centres should focus on joining leisure, purchases, culture, gastronomy and even rest, that is to say, they should become small cities that fulfil all of their users’ expectations and needs.

However, the expectation of sustainability must not be left aside; future shopping centres will not be able to coexist in the society which is to come without being fully integrated and aware of natural environmental conservation.