Humanising Big Box Retail… A Downtown Walmart?

walmartnew.jpgWal Mart, valid complaints aside, has made some pretty significant effort in the past year to “green” its practices. It’s still the 900lb gorilla everyone loves to hate, but I’ll admit it has gotten slightly better.
Anyway, here’s the latest – a “new urbanist” Wal Mart is now proposed for the battered Mississippi Gulf Coast town of Pass Christian, says USA today. The idea is that the Wal Mart will be located in an actual downtown, in such a way that citizens can walk to it and it’s not isolated among acres of surface parking lots.
Aside from the painfullly kitchy architecture, this actually seems like a great idea – one that might do at least a little to help one of Wal Mart’s most hated historical effects – the obliteration of small town centers in favor of automobile oriented strip malls.
Although a cartoon downtown full of chain stores isn’t exactly ideal, this development is worth watching as Wal Mart slowy starts to learn to think differently.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of has since grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.