The Appeal of In-Town Big Box

Emily Badger recounts the litany of gripes about Big Box stores, then proceeds to present the results of a recent study that shows why they may not be so bad after all.

1 minute read

February 12, 2012, 11:00 AM PST

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


Using the specific example of a Target store that opened in the progressive community of Davis, California in 2009, Badger discusses the potential benefits of in-town Big Box stores. A study produced by the UC Davis's Institute of Transportation Studies demonstrated that the Target reduced monthly vehicle miles traveled for shoppers without reducing the frequency of shopping trips to downtown Davis.

As it turns out, at least from this example, according to researcher Kristin Lovejoy, "the majority of people shopped at these stores already." So, "this turns out be an example of bringing shopping closer to where people live."

Badger introduces a key caveat however: "Of course, reduced driving is just one policy goal, and the benefit may not be worth it if it comes at the expense of dying mom-and-pop shops (or other social costs). In Davis, though, that's not exactly what happened."

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