Big Boxes

One of the more depressing things in the Christensen reading was that the “big box buildings are being vacated because the retailers are expanding to larger structures, usually with in a mile of the original structure. “ (p.5)

So it’s cheaper to build something new rather than renovate the older one and so another giant structure with it’s “acres of impermeable parking lots and rooftops” blights the country. (OK, I’ll admit to value judgement here but I am pretty horrified by the big box stores everywhere and the way they have now taken over NYC.)  It seems that until/unless there is more regulation, these corporations will have no reason not to continue doing exactly what they’re doing.

This big box phenomenom  seems very much in character with our cultural obsession with having the newest, the biggest,  the cheapest (which for the companies ofen includes cheap labor and poor health benefits for it’s workers.)Now Wal-Mart is pushing to open here in the city despite community protests.  The issue here is the company’s poor record on labor and health as well as the impact on the smaller businesses in the area.

I agree with Cindy that it’s good to see some creative and community-based re-use of some of these spaces  ( I was especially interested in the urban re-adaptive sites)  which fall in with  Alan Berger’s idea of re-thinking this “drosscape” and seeing it not purely as a negative (although I think I do!) It makes me wonder how long we will continue making the same mistakes,  (or allow them to be made) favoring  the interests of big corporations at the expense of the communities and the environment.

by Jenny


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