The foundation funded by the Walton family—of Walmart fame—sponsored about 25 people to come to the Congress for the New Urbanism in Buffalo in early June. It was a remarkable group, including mayors, city council members, chamber of commerce officials, and representatives of regional planning commissions, economic development and transportation agencies, and others from four primary cities in Northwest Arkansas.
The foundation’s purpose is to steer rapidly growing Northwest Arkansas toward becoming a walkable transit-oriented place that is attractive to educated young professionals.
The Walton Family Foundation initiative may seem ironic given that Walmart stores symbolize the single-use, big box format with large parking lots. Yet the foundation, which is led by a board of Walton family members, is concerned with the economic future of Northwest Arkansas, the fastest growing region in the United States.