We, as a culture, have become so fixated on growing jobs in our communities that we can’t see anything else. It is up to us to recognize that our cities and metro areas can ask for better.
The allure of a silver-bullet economic development project is like that boat you buy for a low, low down payment. You know, the one that ended up sitting in your driveway under a tarp for years. Just ask Memphis.
The dollar store might seem like a smaller, friendlier alternative to the big box. But its proliferation tells us something powerful about the way we build our towns.
Big boxes arguably helped to kill the classic main street. Can they also bring it back?
Using tax incentives to subsidize retail is a lose-lose game that St. Louis's suburbs, desperate for short-term revenue, have been playing for too long. University City is mortgaging its future and selling out its small businesses with a $70 million subsidy for big-box development.
University City, Missouri, is on the verge of a terrible decision: a redevelopment deal that would displace dozens of homes and minority-owned businesses in its unofficial “Chinatown” for big-box retail subsidized through tax-increment financing.
Most of the land in our cities sits vacant for large parts of the day. Is this the best use of our resources?
The problems created by the style of development just keep piling on.
Sure, Wal-Marts bring in some sales tax revenue, but that’s a far lower value to your city than you might think.
Big box stores are as ubiquitous and American as Coca-Cola. And yet their impact on our cities has gone unquestioned for far too long…
A Strong Towns member used tax data to figure out how much his local Target was actually contributing to his community.
Big box developments are not paying their fair share.
Cities that tethered their future to this experiment are going to struggle, while those that still have a pulse in their core neighborhoods will have a chance at renewed prosperity.
A visual depiction of just how much American land is full of shopping malls and big box stores.
Building after massive building now sit empty in towns across America. Yours is up next.
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Everything that used to be shiny and new in this town is now aging – not all of it well. This town, like nearly every other town of its vintage, is functionally insolvent.
American towns and states are subsidizing big businesses to the tune of billions of dollars a year. In exchange, we get crappy, big box developments and infrastructure we can't pay afford.
Strip malls are not the result of the free market choosing a preferred development pattern; They're the result of government regulations.
What if our goal wasn’t to build the most stuff in the shortest amount of time for the least amount of money?