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Organic Big Box Growth And Downtown Development

A glimpse into the growth of Wal-mart provides an eye-opening view of their saturation of the retail market (via the boxtank [1]) as presented by economist Thomas J. Holmes [2] of the University of Minnesota as a movie [windows media] [3].

The movie was a companion to a working paper called The Diffusion of Wal-Mart and Economies of Density [pdf] [4].

On a lighter note, remember in the tv trailers advertising the Fox show called The Simple Life [5] a few years ago, when Paris Hilton thought Wal-mart was a store to buy walls? [6].

Wal-mart’s dominance has been long controversial in small town America as downtown areas have often fought to protect their central business districts by keeping them out. Wal-Mart has become the posterchild for this movement, especially after small towns grew dependent on the tax revenues the stores generate [7] and put suppliers in a pickle [8].

With the gaining momentum of new urbanism [9] and the revitalization of downtown areas by converting obsolete commercial buildings into residential, the entry of big box stores like Wal-mart are believed by many to disrupt the natural economic evolution of downtown residential centers, or stop them all together. With the saturation of Wal-mart stores, it would appear likely that there will be new pressures for them to develop in urban areas, but this will likely add to their current public relations woes [Newsweek] [10] as they attempt to remake their public image [NYT] [11].

Wal-mart organic growth movie [windows media] [3].