BANGKOK — When British economist William Forster Lloyd coined the term “tragedy of the commons” two centuries ago to refer to the spoiling of shared resources by individuals, it must have been after seeing the sidewalks of Bangkok.
Extend that to the capital city’s vast and numerous shopping malls which – apart from taking space which could have been a park or library – tend to offer an awful selection of stores, tasteless kitschy decor and misery-inducing parking. Thus the degraded public utility of malls many don’t want to visit because, too often, they really suck.
The Commons, a new Thonglor “community mall,” was designed to be free of tragedy. Partly because its commercial tenants won’t be the usual nepotism-preferred cronies, but a curated selection of vendors meant to go well together.
“I put my money down two years ago. I trusted the concept because here, unlike other malls, you know who will be next to you,” said Chris Foo of The Beer Cap, a craft beer bar opening to lubricate Commons patrons. “It’s just a bunch of people who really believe in each other's products.”