Debating the Role of Amazon Delivery Service in the Future Built Environment

The team at Strong Towns is taking an in-depth look at Amazon, with a week of events, including the point-counterpoint series shared here.
April 26, 2017, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Scott Lewis

Kea Wilson writes an entreaty for planners and others concerned about the built environment to devote more considerations to the impacts of the growing popularity of online retailer Amazon.

Wilson begins the article by acknowledging the considerable time and energy devoted to critiquing the negative externalities of big box stores. Wilson's appeal to the audience: Amazon could be just as detrimental to the built environment as big box retail has been.

Wilson then lists a few reasons for skepticism toward a future of Amazon-enabled retail, such as Amazon's effect for property and sales tax revenues, Amazon's track record of eliminating jobs, and the casualties in Main Street businesses that will join the loss of larger, national brands.

Responding to the request to focus on Amazon, Charles Marohn has already penned a response. Marohn disagrees with Wilson, first by saying he doesn't dislike Walmart, and then by arguing that the "Amazon benefit" won't last. His larger point is that companies like Walmart and Amazon are taking advantage of a bad game with bad rules. "If you don't like the game, change the rules," writes Marohn, referencing earlier Strong Towns coverage of big box stores.  

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Published on Monday, April 24, 2017 in Strong Towns
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