Pedestrians and retail, the Fiumara model

Michele Caprini
28 Jun 2019

Pedestrian traffic in retail is characterised by frequency and typology, which are a focal point of all retail. New ways to render it more efficient and attractive are being developed every day whether its for streets or dedicated shopping areas.

Until recently, the idea of pedestrian traffic was closely linked to pedestrian islands in city centres. Today, the need to make it more efficient concerns shopping malls of medium and large size. 

Disregarding location, shopping malls must adapt to new consumption and purchasing trends. It is simply necessary to cite the growth of the restaurant, entertainment and specialised services, such as child care.


Given the above, the restructuring of Fiumara has caught the eye of many being one of the most important malls in the North with more than 11 million visitors each year. There are 120 stores on three floors, a Conad supermarket, 7 restaurants, a game room and a children’s’ playground with an entertainment centre in close proximity.

The first change was the new logo. Created in collaboration with the University’s Architecture and Design department, it was chosen between an option of 4 through a poll sent out to customers.

There was a myriad of choices to improve pedestrian traffic in shopping areas and remove dead zones. Customer habits were altered first as escalators were moved from the central entrance to the peripheral ones.

This has greatly facilitated entrance to the mall and brought more traffic to the Food Hall area, making it a convenient pit-stop area and maximising seating space. The seating area is now extremely versatile with the possibility to organise business lunches, meetings or simply a happy hour. This has now become a strategic area in the new mall.

Aside from the different quality of materials and services, there was a need to indicate the entrances differently on the street and from the parking lot. A new purchasing experience was born out of this.

In the entertainment centre, aside from the large multi-screen cinema of the UCI circuit and various restaurants, the space is available for events, presentations and shopping shows.

Customers could not a clearer message from the new mall: better and more pedestrian traffic in the centre, greater space and better quality offered.

Costi e sostenibilità

Lastly, a new air-conditioning unit was installed, reducing energy consumption by 70% and CO2 emissions by circa 190.000 kg/year.

Some in the United Stateshave compared walking through malls like “walking through deserts”; perhaps the restructuring of Fiumara will serve as example.