This DVD features ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell giving a talk in November 2006 about the hidden costs of big-box retail and what communities can do to rebuild local businesses. The event was sponsored by Local First Utah and filmed by Salt Lake City Television. (1 hr, 4 min). Continue reading
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The Maine legislature has given its approval to a bill that requires cities and towns to evaluate the economic effects of large-scale retail development and to approve only those projects that will not have an adverse impact on jobs, local businesses, and municipal finances. The legislation is the first of its kind in the nation. Continue reading
In a unanimous decision yesterday, the California Supreme Court fortified efforts by cities across the state to restrict the development of big-box stores, favor small-scale retailers, and protect the vitality of downtowns. The ruling (Hernandez v. City of Hanford) upholds the authority of cities to adopt planning and zoning ordinances that have a direct impact on economic competition and that treat businesses differently based on the scale of their stores. Continue reading
While many parts of the country are overrun with chain stores, San Francisco remains a stronghold for locally owned businesses, according to a new study, which also found that those local stores generate sizable benefits for the city’s economy.
Many local officials would undoubtedly reconsider big-box projects if they knew that a new mega-store would eliminate more jobs than it creates, or that it would cost the city more in public services than it generates in tax revenue . But most cities do not assess the likely economic impacts of retail development. They assume that these stores expand the local economy and approve them blind to the potential costs. Legislation under consideration in Maine would remedy this by stipulating that cities may approve stores over 75,000 square feet only after an independent economic analysis is conducted. Continue reading
This session on regulating big-box retail was presented at the American Planning Association’s 2007 conference. Presenters were Thomas Jacobson, Stacy Mitchell, and Julie Tappendorf. The CD-ROM includes audio synchronized with PowerPoint, transcripts and slides, note sheets, and reading materials. Continue reading
Walmart’s sustainability campaign cannot be dismissed as greenwashing. It’s actually far more dangerous than that. Wal-Mart’s initiatives have just enough meat to have distracted much of the environmental movement, along with most journalists and many ordinary people, from the fundamental fact that, as a system of distributing goods to people, big-box retailing is as intrinsically unsustainable as clear-cut logging is as a method of harvesting trees. Continue reading
The provision of planning policy that Wal-Mart wants to see scrapped is known as the “needs test.” It says that communities may approve large out-of-town stores only if there is a demonstrable need for new retail and there is no way to satisfy that need with development in or adjacent to the town center. Continue reading
There are two primary pieces of local land use policy: the comprehensive plan and the zoning code. The comprehensive plan is essentially a vision statement containing general guidelines for development in a local jurisdiction. The plan is then implemented through the zoning code. Continue reading
Supersized Supermarkets: A Public Forum – Stacy Mitchell is featured at
this U.K. event that was hosted by Tescopoly, Friends of the Earth, War
on Want, and ActionAid.