Case Study: Mall as Social Infrastructure

This article is part of a series of selected ESG case studies submitted by participants in the 2017 GRESB Real Estate Assessment.

We strive to meet local needs beyond conventional commercial facilities; not only for shopping but also for getting people together and nurturing tradition and culture.

Purpose of the project

This company’s management philosophy is “AEON MALL is a life design developer that works with communities and produces ways of living for the future.” Based on this philosophy, it not only expands ways to serve people beyond the framework of commercial facilities but also designs “ways for people to live in the future.” Aiming to become “the most favored malls in communities”, it will strengthen their social infrastructure functions as places which creates and nurtures opportunities for people to meet and engage in traditional and cultural activities in order to satisfy community needs beyond the limits as conventional commercial facilities.


“Tsugaru City Library” was opened at AEON MALL Tsugaru Kashiwa in July 2016. It is the very first city library for Tsugaru City. Opening the main public library in the AEON MALL building is the first case in Japan. The plan was brought into reality about one year before the opening. Initially, we could not conceptualize a specific image. But, the plan had been gradually substantiated as in-depth discussions with Tsugaru City and the people concerned were repeated. For example, valuable local materials and an extensive range of references relating to agriculture that was the key industry of Tsugaru City became available. Other attractive features include utilizing wooden apple boxes local farmers used for delivery as display boxes in order to create warm atmosphere, and locating a café by the entrance. In consideration of the citizens’ convenience, a local office of Tsugaru City was also set up adjacent to the library. Besides, public facilities such as post offices, city halls, medical offices and voting booths are located inside AEON MALL premises nationwide. They play public functions for communities.


As the sophisticated design of “Tsugaru City Library” in AEON MALL Tsugaru Kashiwa became a big topic, about 4,600 people visited the library even on the opening day (July 2016), and it welcomed the 200,000th visitor on February 15, 2017 (the population of Tsugaru city is just 34,000). Besides, public libraries are also set up inside the two malls in the Kansai region. The half of books held in the one in Ibaraki city (opened in 2001) are children’s books. The other in Itami city (opened in 2011) owns 90,000 books and audiovisual materials across two floors.


These libraries are well received because customers can drop in before or after shopping. Initially, there were concerns whether a library could coexist with book stores in a mall, however we believe that it will further generate synergy by collaborative initiatives such as planning for events and campaigns.


Please refer to the press release (in Japanese) regarding background and details on Tsuruga City Library.
This case study was submitted by AEON Mall.

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