The agency of commerce | Inquirer Business
city of tomorrow

The agency of commerce

One of the main engines of capitalism is commerce. Many of our cities are built upon trading centers and often, the most important feature of these locations was convenience. Commerce is essentially driven by movement and abhors barriers. It is driven by simplicity.

Allow me this week a simple article then. A figurative one that tries to be both short and sweet, the most delightful combination that moves us onward.

Our communities and our lives are shaped by commercial interests. Commercial spaces determine the ebb and flow of urban culture.


The very first commercial spaces were the agoras and forums of the Greek and Roman world. Markets were and still remain essential centers of urban life. As our cities became more complex, commercial spaces diverged into industrial, retail and office spaces. These spaces have now dovetailed into more complex, mixed use places of commerce that foster intensified commercial activities.


First Principles

There are various types of commercial spaces all of which revolve around simplicity.

Retail spaces exchange and move goods. A store needs to be visually clear and identifiable. A promenade needs to induce forward movement with open and engaging vistas. A destination needs to simplify our schedules by providing the most diverse experience in a single location.

Office spaces must provide knowledge and information.

A simple desk should be personal and allow one to produce ideas and solutions. Common areas allow everyone to pass through or stay and garner information through simple exchanges. Meeting spaces bring everyone together to share and present their ideas.

Architecture is an act that creates complexity and removes complications. Oftentimes, the first principles that determine our spaces allow us to recalibrate and identify what our primary focus should be and define how we can develop new ideas. We live in a society that dislikes boundaries but covets intimacy.

Consumption patterns have become experiential, wherein we are no longer satisfied to be subjects but demand to be agents of any exchange.


Performance is no longer quantitatively blind but demands the granular quality of human perception. Commerce is movement. Movement is action. Action is change.

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TAGS: capitalism, commercial spaces

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