Photo: Alex LeungCross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Walmart plans to expand into urban markets with smaller stores that carry fresh food, writes Jayne O'Donnell in USA Today. O'Donnell reports that the giant retailer is looking for suitable locations in city environments across the country. Is this a good thing? Urbanists, preservationists, and smart growth advocates, including yours truly, have roundly criticized Walmart's well-known business model of building mega-stores of up to 200,000 square feet with 15 to 20-acre surface parking lots on the outer suburban fringe. Notwithstanding the company's efforts to be known for sustainability, no corporation has been more emblematic of the …
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Kaid Benfield is the Director of Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth, at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He is the co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and the Smart Growth America coalition; and author of Once There Were Greenfields (NRDC 1999), Solving Sprawl (Island Press 2001), Smart Growth In a Changing World (APA Planners Press 2007), Green Community (APA Planners Press 2009). He was voted one of the "top urban thinkers" in 2009 poll on Planetizen.com and named one of "the most influential people in sustainable planning and development" in 2010 by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.