Friday, October 24, 2008

Generica in the 2000s?

Retail and the Coming Storm - On Point Podcast with Tom Ashbrook. 

I pretty much listen to three NPR shows everyday; On Point, Fresh Air, and Here and Now. They are all excellent shows, and I recommend them to everyone. Obviously this restructuring of our economy has been on everyones minds and lips as of late, this show I found particularly interesting. The discussion centered around the impending collapse of the retail Big Box stores around America. There have been a number of them disappearing already...and what the hell do we do with these Big Boxes of real estate shells left over in our communities? 

There were many suggestions presented here in this discussion; schools, community fitness centers, and the like. I personally think we should convert the parking lots into solar panel energy production (instead of centers of global warming due to the blacktop absorbing sunlight- grass reflects more), a huge wind turbine in the middle of the lot/store, the rooftop is perfectly flat and ideal for more panels. I wonder how much energy could one Walmart conversion provide? Enough to run the lights of the city? Enough to run the heating/cooling systems of businesses in the area during the peak daytime sunlight hours? I mean think about how MANY Big Box stores there are in our Great Country Generica! That's a lot of valuble real estate sitting idle, and lets not waste it on something as fleeting as making money... please.

1 comment:

brian harrington said...

maybe the dollar can stay low and the big boxes can become spaces where american's actually make things again... but what to make!? plastic refuse shipped from port of oakland to china, recycled into happy meal toy, and sent back to mcdonald kid's pocket? Nope. plastic refuse sent to big box shell in Oakland, turned into happy meal toy, shipped to mcdonald kids pocket in china. shit, doesn't solve much. Lets make solar panels in big box shells, then its negligible shipping energy to just throw them up on the roof! solar has to be cheaper/better/subsidized more and big box real estate tends to be suburban real estate which tended to be superficially inflated in value before the bust and now not so good: difficult to make the new energy leap when you have such a slumping car dependent economy and tax base. walmart actually did start putting panels on their roofs... but only because energy prices are on the up and up. funny how us buying cheap stuff from china in a big box is how they could afford to make the high initial investment.

the first step in dealing with Big Box is disallowing new ones to be built or rather their parking lot culture (or maybe a freeze until the electric car comes online, but that's only a half the problem). I all boils down to your bike theory jesse. maybe big box shells should start churning out cheap subsidized bikes! there could be bike trails through wilderness reclaimed from suburbia from coast to coast! finally i can breathe again!