Transforming Education: The Rise of Universities in Malls

The changing landscape of education

The university is no longer limited to traditional campuses tucked away in quiet corners of the city. The educational landscape is evolving rapidly, and one of the most exciting developments in recent years has been the rise of universities within malls. This innovative concept has gained appeal across the globe, offering a unique blend of education and retail. In this article, we will discuss the benefits, challenges and potential of universities within malls, as well as their impact on the local community and economy.

campus in a mall

How Austin Community College turned Highland Mall into a campus

(Source: Kut News)

The concept of universities in malls

The idea of having a university inside a mall may seem unconventional at first, but it is a testament to the changing nature of education. Malls, once reserved only for shopping and entertainment, are turning into multifunctional spaces that cater to the various needs of society. By integrating educational institutions into these bustling centers, universities in malls give students easy access to a wide range of facilities and resources. From libraries and bookstores to recreational facilities and food courts, these campuses offer a vibrant and dynamic environment for learning.

petra Universities

Petra Business School location at Fairway Nine Mall, West Surabaya. (Sources : ngopibareng)

Benefits of having universities in malls

The integration of the university within the mall provides many benefits. First, it creates a seamless experience for students by centralizing their academic, social, and recreational needs in one place. This eliminates the need for students to travel between different locations, saving time and energy. Additionally, being close to retail outlets and services within the mall enhances the overall student experience, allowing them to easily access essential items, enjoy recreational activities, and socialize with their peers.

Secondly, the presence of universities in malls promotes accessibility and inclusivity in education. Malls are usually located in central areas with excellent transportation networks, making higher education more accessible to a wider demographic. This can have a profound impact on individuals who would not have previously considered furthering their education due to geographical or financial constraints. By breaking down these barriers, universities in malls open doors to educational opportunities that were once out of reach for many.

Third, universities in malls have the potential to foster collaboration and innovation. The vibrant mall atmosphere encourages interaction between students, faculty, and the wider community. This can lead to valuable partnerships, research collaborations, and entrepreneurial ventures. By bringing together individuals from different disciplines and backgrounds, these campuses create fertile ground for the exchange of ideas and the development of an entrepreneurial mindset.

AEON MALL Miyazaki – hinata TERRACE, being close to retail outlets and services within the mall enhances the overall student experience, enjoy recreational activities, and socialize with their peers.

(Sources : aeon mall miyazaki hinata terrace)

Challenges and criticisms of universities in malls

While the concept of a university within a mall is promising, it is not without its challenges and criticisms. One of the main concerns is its potential impact on the academic environment. Malls are usually full of activity, which may not always be conducive to focused and quiet study. Noise, distractions and a continuous flow of people can create an environment that is not ideal for deep learning and concentration.

Another challenge is the perception of the educational value provided by universities in malls. Some argue that the presence of educational institutions in commercial spaces can undermine the seriousness and prestige associated with higher education. There are concerns that integration with the retail environment may dull the academic experience and reduce the quality of education offered. To address these concerns, careful planning and design is required to ensure that academic integrity and standards are not compromised.

In addition, there is a need to consider the potential impact on local businesses and communities. The presence of a university in a mall may disrupt the existing ecosystem and competition among local educational institutions. It is imperative to strike a balance that benefits both the mall and the surrounding community, ensuring that the presence of the university does not overshadow or negatively impact existing establishments.

University of Calgary

(Sources: highereducationdigest)

Successful examples of universities in malls

Despite the challenges, there are several successful examples of universities in malls that have demonstrated the potential of this concept. For example, the University of Calgary in Canada has established its presence in a local mall, providing a dynamic and accessible learning environment for students. The university has transformed a former department store into a state-of-the-art campus, complete with classrooms, laboratories, and student lounges.

Another well-known example is the University of Westminster in London, which has its fashion and design program in a mall. This unique setting allows students to engage with industry professionals, access retail spaces for hands-on learning, and showcase their work to a wider audience. The integration of education and commerce creates a synergistic relationship that benefits both students and the local fashion industry.

Impact on the local community and economy

The presence of a university in a mall has a significant impact on the local community and economy. First, it stimulates economic growth by attracting students, faculty, and staff who contribute to the local economy through their spending on housing, groceries, transportation, and entertainment. This inflow of people can also lead to the creation of new businesses and employment opportunities, further boosting the local economy.

Secondly, universities in malls serve as catalysts for community engagement and development. The integration of educational institutions into malls creates opportunities for partnerships with local organizations, cultural events, and community outreach programs. These initiatives not only enrich the educational experience but also foster a sense of pride and belonging within the community.

Additionally, universities in malls can serve as anchors that rejuvenate struggling retail spaces. As online shopping continues to grow, malls face the challenge of reinventing themselves to stay relevant. The presence of a university brings a continuous flow of people, creating a lively and vibrant atmosphere that attracts visitors and encourages them to explore the mall’s retail offerings. This symbiotic relationship benefits both malls and universities, creating a win-win situation.

pcu press confrence

PCU Rector, Prof. Dewantoro, and PCU SBM Dean, Josua Tarigan, announce Petra Business School at Fairway Nine Mall.

(Sources :

The potential of malls as educational spaces

The rise of universities in malls is a transformative shift in the world of education. By integrating educational institutions into commercial spaces, we can create a vibrant and accessible learning environment that meets the needs of students and the community at large. While there are challenges and criticisms to overcome, the benefits and possibilities offered by universities in malls are undeniable.

As we look to the future, it is imperative to continue exploring innovative approaches to education that encourage inclusivity, collaboration and lifelong learning. The concept of a university within a mall provides a glimpse into the exciting possibilities that lie ahead. By embracing this concept and designing spaces that balance academics and commerce, we can truly transform education and create a brighter future for learners of all ages.

That is one of the reasons Petra Christian University opened Petra Business School at Fairway Nine Mall. With the new concept of Fairway Nine Mall that provides a golf course view and alignment of indoor and outdoor spaces, it is expected to support the education process and social interaction between students and the wider community.

Fairway Nine Mall Your Happiness is Here Home for Millennials & Communities Provide a leisure and entertainment