KCET Publish date: June 21, 2006
What is really at issue is not whether building a new Wal-Mart is a better choice for a municipality rather than another Starbucks. What is at issue in the Wal-Mart stories is whether municipal governments are abusing their power and exceeding their discretionary limits by making land-use decisions for political reasons.
In doing this, cities are ignoring the issues, which should be governing how councils approach a Wal-Mart application. The question should not be how effective lobbying efforts are before city councils, but what is a good use for a site in terms of community service.
All development has some adverse impact and some positive impact. City governments are to balance the good with the bad and decide on such development under that analysis. When these decisions are made in the arena of politics, citizens have done a disservice, and the precedent of making land-use decisions for political reasons has implications that exceed the Wal-Mart debate.
Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson/Law Offices
Wal-Mart as Total City proposes a new urban typology in which people live, play, become educated, work, worship and, of course, shop at Wal-Mart. In this utopia, the 19th-century central city with a town square has been abandoned.
All residents have moved to Wal-Mart as Total City. Wal-Mart has clothes, film developing, groceries, nail salons, fast food, banks, electronics, garden supplies, etc.
Wal-Mart has already taken on the responsibility of providing housing…Wal-Mart has also become a community center where communities gather to have 9/11 memorial services, bubble-gum blowing contests, watch high-school marching bands…
Who is to say that Wal-Mart won’t take the responsibility of becoming a place of education and worship as well? By providing one-stop shopping in a big-box environment to inhabitants of small towns, Wal-Mart alters our built environments…
The Wal-Mart parking lot takes the place of the streets, parks and public buildings that used to provide communities with gathering spaces. The public is now the private at the Wal-Mart parking lot. Small, independent businesses are not necessary and have been eliminated in Wal-Mart as Total City.
— Excerpt taken from theboxtank’s “Wal-Mart as Total City” Blog