Wal-Mart Moves Downtown in South Mississippi - USA Today
USA Today’s Haya El Nasser investigates Wal-mart’s big new move in coastal Mississippi—going urban. After Hurricane Katrina ravaged south Mississippi, there is opportunity to consider alternative measures in urban design. But can a marriage between Wal-Mart and historical downtowns be successful?
Miss. Wal-Marts may apply 'new urbanism' in rebuilding
By Haya El Nasser, USA TODAY
Wal-Mart, the big-box giant sometimes accused of contributing to sprawl, traffic jams and the demise of downtown merchants, is considering an urban look and downtown locations for two of its Gulf Coast stores destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Urban planners invited by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour to bring fresh rebuilding ideas to 11 hurricane-damaged communities have devised concepts that would turn Wal-Mart's big-box stores into corner stores.
…Adopting a new urbanist vision would be a departure for Wal-Mart.
"Wal-Mart is able to do a lot of things better than anybody on the planet," Hall says. "But what they're not good at is building beautiful buildings that fit into the rest of the town. ... They've contributed to the dislocation, the disconnection of urban form in towns because they're such a huge building and a huge parking lot."
Some communities have resisted Wal-Mart stores over concerns about the stores' impact on sprawl and locally owned businesses. The company has been criticized in recent months over issues such as pay and health care benefits for its workers. A documentary attacking its business practices, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, is playing in theaters in many cities. Wal-Mart has released its own, more positive film: Why Wal-Mart Works: And Why That Makes Some People C-r-a-z-y.
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