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Fashion Island Case Study Essay

The Fashion Island enjoys topographical advantages when it located near the famous Newport Beach and comprised with a variety of high-end commercial building, including financial office, Newport Beach Marriott hotel & Spa and Newport Beach country Club on the south and southeast. When the nearby Newport beach has the highest concentration of wealth in Southern California and even is the home of the famous local entrepreneurs including McKee & Company Home and Jack’s Surfboards. The Fashion Island considers the local residence along the Newport Beach and the coastal resort as the major market.

With the open-air regional shopping center and sidewalks which connected with the Newport Beach, the shopping mall successfully achieves the goal of creating a favorable mixed-used district which fulfills the needs of Newport Beach residents. On the other hand, the Fashion island also committed to build a mixed-Use area which integrates economic and commercial centers by providing a wide range of high-end restaurant likes the Yard House and professional company likes the Pacific Investment Management Company.

Meanwhile, it perfectly well-defined between the residential area and non-residential businesses to avoid any visual conflict which may affects its landscape quality. The exceptional design quality building along the ring of Fashion island and the luxury retail promenades inside the shopping mall not only complement its overall aesthetic character, but also promotes visual interest to the consumers. Even though Fashion Island has a favorable geographical and exceptional urban design, when it was built in 1967, it was an unobtrusive shopping mall which facing the pressure of insufficient ustomer.

At that time, JC Penny was the first major chain store marched into the shopping mall, however, it took 15 years for the center’s owners to eventually realize that the JC Penny has already failed the attractive for the customer in the Newport Beach whose has the highest income in the Orange County. In the recent years, the center’s owner started replacing the lowerend merchants opened shop, like JC Penny by attracting new upscale tenants and restaurants including LOUIS VUITTON AT NEIMAN MARCUS, Bloomingdale’s 59th & Lex Cafe and one of the first Bloomingdale’s on the West Coast.

The Irvine Company added up more than 90 tenants and even plans to spend $4 million for the new landscaping. The changing on the nature of stores and target customers became a renovation. When sales volume and consumption of the Fashion Island have been dramatically increased by the wealthy shoppers, it no longer caters the need of the working-class community or Lower middle class.

When the Irvine Company effortlessly builds its high-end images by enhancing the storefront visibility and creating a luxury interior design, meanwhile, it also shows no tolerance to the undesirable population like homeless and different marginal group. The public domain likes the Fashion Island is theoretically accessible to all. Everyone including the homeless people should have the right of admittance. However, while carefully observed the environment and the design of the facility, I found out that the shopping mall is being colonized to only favor the consumption activity which developed by the private owner.

The design of the Fashion Island not only secretly manipulates the activity and behaviors of people, but also applying an unpleasant design in the open space to create restrictions on public space access, especially to the homeless people. For example,to discourage homeless people to use the shopping mall as a nigh shelter for resting and sleeping, many of the benches are replaced by the wooden armchairs and there has only a few left located near the fountain. Some of the benches even design with armrests so the homeless may not able to comfortably lie down.

As Mike Davis in the “Fortless Los Angeles: The Militarization of Urban Space”acknowledges that, “the city is engaged in a relentless struggle to make the streets as unlivable as possible for the homeless and the poor” (Davis ) Without a doubt, the design of the public facilities like the armchair in the mall can consider as a phenomenon of the social exclusion. Also, when I look around, I found that that the security camera installed throughout the mall and parking which acts as a powerful homeless deterrent technologies for the homeless people.

Under the the video surveillance, the security ensures that the homeless people has nowhere to rest or hide. Meanwhile, the professional private securities also patrol in the mall to restrict on the access for certain categories of people. The major design of the mall is to promote the “visuality of the public street scene to exclude marginalized populations such as homeless people, and the redevelopment also reduces the public place which originally open for everyone to respite.

As a consumer I feel that in the future, the definition of public space becomes blurred when the corporate districts continue to occupy it with the excuse of security. In fact, the public spaces are transforming to a new business opportunity for the potential investors and bourgeois population. The luxury design of the shopping mall gives a signal to the customers that it is a limited access territory by hiring the private security and using security camera.

Under the restriction and limitation of the public space (Fashion Island), the marginalized group like the poor people may experience the alienation in the public space. When I visited the Fashion Island on weekday afternoon, most of the consumer were white-collar and well-dressed people who came from the near office within two city blocks to have lunch. I felt that the perfect location and management practice which created by the Irvine company successfully limits the “undesirable” group and maintains its safe and clean environment.

Last but not least, the location of Fashion Island seems favorable and convient to consumer who has vehicle since it is located above Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) between MacArthur Boulevard and Jamboree Road in Newport Beach. The complete highway system stimulates both the middle class and upper class to visit the shopping mall. And the consumer who relies on the public transportation can also access the mall by taking the OCTA bus in the Orange County area.

However, the operating hours of those bus lines are normally end at 8p. .. Moreover, the Fashion Island actually surrounded by the parking structure in all directions, therefore, when I tried to walk from bus to the entrance of the mall, it takes at least 5 minutes. The area planning of the shopping mall seems only consider the wealthier car-owning but ignores the need of the working class or poor people who takes the public transportation. In the same way, the inconvenient accessibility also helps to separate the marginal group like poor people with the potential wealth consumer.

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