Re: Recycling Big Box developments
- The only way to properly recycle big box stores is to have an environmentally responsible
wrecker salvage and sort the building materials after knocking it down. Pull up the pavement
and send it back to the tarpits if such material can be reused. Then redevelop the large piece
of contingous land into medium to high density mixed use development.
PS I know the first rule of recyclnig is reuse, but the monstosity of a big box will only
perpetuate further bad planning.
- Tuds said:
>The only way to properly recycle big box stores is to have anThat part is right.
>wrecker salvage and sort the building materials after knocking it
>down. Pull up the pavement
>and send it back to the tarpits if such material can be reused.
>ThenNope, return it to farmland. The land is too far away from
>redevelop the large piece
>of contingous land into medium to high density mixed use development.
anything to be worth redeveloping in any form, unless it's
part of an entire carfree finger connecting to downtown,
almost certainly with rail service. The reason these places
are where they are is the cheap land next to the highway,
far from downtown.
------ ### -----
J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
- In reference to:
"J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...> suggested that
big box areas should be returned to agricultural
OR HOW ABOUT: Green space for non-people - if a nearby
pre-converted highway doesnt interfere - as I assume
it could have been something else before it was used
for agriculture, eh?
Agriculture would continue to bring in tax revenues at
a local level at least (excluding federal subsidies)
unlike a park or nature reserve/human-exclusion area,
BUT can we think of other non-automobile traffic
inducing ways to have the place generate cash? (Of
course nature restoration does have a significant
monetary value, too)
What about malls INSIDE urban areas, not at the
periphery? There are many examples of these, including
my beloved (!) Fox Hills Mall
in Culver City, California, where I learned to play
automobile-themed video games, in the pre-Nintendo
As we have discussed before here - but I think this is
an interesting discussion - turn the parking lots and
structures into housing, keep the mall mostly as-is
but add some convienience stores and all night diners
and clubs and of course better public transport to
keep people coming to the mall? Outside of the
"Residence at the Old Parking Lot", this "WalkMall"
would be within walking distance of thousands of
people and bikeable or less than a few transit stops
away for tens of thousands.
Also consider having the mall have a roof which opens
and closes, etc.
Or destroy it? Is it just too close to the "freeway"?
Emissions might not increase so much in the near
future, but noise will certainly not decrease.
On a related note there is a new Carrefour shopping
centre (Vrsovice) not far from the centre of Prague
which is about 50m from the main rail corridor to the
There is no rail link now, but within the expanding
suburban rail system it is not inconceivable that a
stop could be built here, which would also put the
tens of thousands of residents nearby two stops and
seven minutes from the main train station, which is at
the edge of the historical centre. BUT it is about
1km to the next station towards the centre, and 2km to
the next station towards the outside of town (kind of
short for rail; there is some redundancy). It could
also serve a nearby small sports stadium. It would be
the only major shopping centre directly on a train
line in Prague, and therefore give carfree
accessibility to the centre for the peripheral areas
and villages - stops are at 2 to 3km intervals - up to
30-min away by train. It could do the same for others
living close to other stations. There are no subway
stops at this location.
Realising that having 30-min non-peak intervals for
trains could inconvienience some shoppers, I think a
solution could be to have a big display showing next
train departures (the big new stadium near a train
station here has this) and even some kind of guarantee
that checkout (cash register) staff would be added as
necessary to ensure that if people get into line to
pay at a certain time they know they can catch the
next train... also, since free parking would continue,
shoppers could pay with an integrated smart card that
could give them a discount on the train.
At best this is "car-harm reduction" (I think an
appropriate adaptation of the drug-abuse term), but it
would still continue to make life difficult for small
businesses - though I should say many smaller shops in
Prague have gotten pretty clever about stocking small
amounts of many things, and being personal, etc... and
they know they are walkable. Stores in smaller towns
and villages have not been as creative and of course
it is more difficult to make deliveries there. But at
the same time if there was no way - if driving costs
for individuals become prohibative - to get to a shop
some distance away market pressures could induce the
village shops to expand.
Or, do we just kill it? OR not do anything to make it
more viable commercially?
Ok, I just got some more ideas but right now I need to
enable my companion animals to go outside - and
perhaps you all do?
Todd, Green Idea Factory
"...if there is a solution, there is a solution..."
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> PS I know the first rule of recycling is reuse, but the monstrosity of aActually, the first rule of recycling is reduce ;-) But you know that...
> big box will only
> perpetuate further bad planning.
In other words, don't build the damn sprawl in the first place. However, in
many or most places it is too late. I can imagine reusing big boxes as part
of a mixed use community. It takes a lot of imagination, but a big box and
its parking lot could probably be converted into a mixed use community.
How long will it be before big boxes are available in the market and if and
when they become available who will finance the development of the mixed use
It's one thing to preach the ideal and another to participate in the
realization of such.
----- Original Message -----
From: "tokyotuds" <ktuttle@...>
Sent: Friday, October 07, 2005 10:41 PM
Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Recycling Big Box developments
> The only way to properly recycle big box stores is to have an
> environmentally responsible
> wrecker salvage and sort the building materials after knocking it down.
> Pull up the pavement
> and send it back to the tarpits if such material can be reused. Then
> redevelop the large piece
> of contingous land into medium to high density mixed use development.
> That's recycling!
> PS I know the first rule of recyclnig is reuse, but the monstosity of a
> big box will only
> perpetuate further bad planning.
> Post messages to: carfree_cities@...
> Unsubscribe (blank message): carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
> Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
> Yahoo! Groups Links
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Mike Morin" <mikemorin@e...> wrote:
>Oops, can I claim being tired when I said the first rule was reuse? Reduce, reuse, recycle
> > PS I know the first rule of recycling is reuse, but the monstrosity of a
> > big box will only
> > perpetuate further bad planning.
> Mike Morin said:
> Actually, the first rule of recycling is reduce ;-) But you know that...
> In other words, don't build the damn sprawl in the first place. >
has been my mantra for nearly 20 years, but 15 years ago I adopted what many people
recommended as the "New First Rule": Refuse.
I think "Don't build the damn sprawl in the first place" qualifies as Refuse, and I agree
My thanks to Mr Crawford for pointing out earlier that big boxes are built on the edge of
the city or even in the coutryside due to cheap land. So, it's better in those cases to return
it to farmland or green space. If we Reuse the big box, then turning the parking lot into
medium to high density mixed use could be a plan, but if we tear down the big box and
the land is still adjacent to country-side, I agree we should return it to countryside.
I'm thinking of some of the big boxes in Toronto, Burlington and London Ontario where
the suburban sprawl has already swallowed up all the land in every direction around the
big boxes. Older big boxes, strip malls and the like are no longer adjacent to the
Here in Japan there is the Large Scale Retailer Law which has protected the small mom and
pop retailer for 50 years. Until recently, the only large retailer that could be built was
department stores. Every neighbourhood still has a small, local "shotengai" shopping
street, a main street if you will, even in the center of Tokyo.
I live about 1.5 km as the crow flies from the Imperial Palace, but the shotengai here is
just beautiful. There are merchants who have been on that street for 8 or 10 generations.
It's wonderful! It's about 1km long, and every Sunday and Holiday it is closed to traffic:
that is, Carfree!
So, my point is, until recently Japan has Refused big box retailers. Sadly, this is changing.
They are allowing exceptions now and there are a few Costcos in Greater Tokyo, as well as
2 bankrupt Carrefours, and in spring 2006 the first Ikea in Japan will open. We'll see what
> My thanks to Mr Crawford for pointing out earlierBut not always. I used to live in the very depressed
> that big boxes are built on the edge of
> the city or even in the coutryside due to cheap
city of St. Louis, and a HUGE debate there is about
building big box developments in town. There is no
lack of space or cheap land, sadly, as the city is
more than half empty (pop 315,000, down from a peak of
850,000) and most of the shopping gets done in the
There the debate comes down to bringing commerce into
the city (and keeping the people that still live in
the city shopping in the city) vs. trying to build
walkable communities. The latter, while the ideal, is
hampered by lack of population that care and lack of
population in absolute numbers.
Meanwhile, I've noticed "big box type" of stores in
San Francisco, without the giant parking lots,
seemingly integrated into the existing streetscape.
These mostly are the office/technology type places
such as Circuit City and Office Max.
- A study conducted by Gothenburg's university and Chalmers tek "Göteborg
2050" suggested that big boxes be used as distribution centres. That is to
say, places where the goods we consume and have ordered over the Internet
get reloaded for delivery to our local centre so we can walk there and
collect them. A spatial analyse in many cases will show that the big boxes
are placed around but outside of the city where there is a motorway
(highway). Big boxes are placed where the maximum amount of goods can be
distributed with the minimal km/ton transport. The problem today is that we
get a thousand SUVs each loaded with one bag of groceries instead of one guy
with a really big SUV loaded with a thousand bags of groceries.
- Dan Kliman wrote:
> > My thanks to Mr Crawford for pointing out earlierI use to work for Loblaws( http://www.loblaws.ca ) here in Montreal, it was
> > that big boxes are built on the edge of
> > the city or even in the countryside due to cheap
> > land.
>But not always. I used to live in the very depressed
>city of St. Louis, and a HUGE debate there is about
>building big box developments in town. There is no
>lack of space or cheap land, sadly, as the city is
>more than half empty (pop 315,000, down from a peak of
>850,000) and most of the shopping gets done in the
>There the debate comes down to bringing commerce into
>the city (and keeping the people that still live in
>the city shopping in the city) vs. trying to build
>walkable communities. The latter, while the ideal, is
>hampered by lack of population that care and lack of
>population in absolute numbers.
>Meanwhile, I've noticed "big box type" of stores in
>San Francisco, without the giant parking lots,
>seemingly integrated into the existing streetscape.
>These mostly are the office/technology type places
>such as Circuit City and Office Max.
the store on the corner of Park and Jean Talon, right beside the Park Avenue
metro/train station. One nice thing about the format of the store compared
to the suburban counter parts was that the parking was under ground with the
store and a park on top.
- First, of course gas taxes should be higher, and this
will discourage future big boxes.
However, I am also struck by the similarities of the
empty big boxes to Diocletian's Palace. His luxury
palace on the Adriatic -- essentially, a big box made
out of stone with better architecture -- became, at
the fall of the Roman Empire, a new city. It was
interesting to go to that city (Split) and see the
"appartments" that used to be rooms in the palace.
I'm not an engineer, and I wonder how long the boxes
were designed to remain standing, how long the HVAC
will remain mold-free, etc. But the idea of a big box
becoming the marketplace for a pedestrian community
that grows up around it seems both romantic and
--- Todd Edelman <traintowardsthefuture@...>
> --- Lloyd Wright <LFWright@...> forwarded:
> > The recycling process should begin when big boxes
> > are planned, not when they
> > become empty, says David Mohney, dean of the
> > University of Kentucky College of
> > Design. That's why many cities, including
> > have ordinances to
> > regulate the location and design of big boxes.
> from: <http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=8960>
> OK. Freeze, illegalise or disable through ECIP
> (External-Cost Internalising Planning) any more big
> With big boxes on major highways, first modify
> highways as appropriate/technically possible with
> trams, commuter rail or bus rapid transit, bridle
> cycle paths, artificial streams, linear parks, etc
> turn big box areas and parking lots into carfree
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Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005
- Aside from the other arguments against recycling this junk, already
The typical big box represents the flimsiest, cheapest, down-and-dirtiest
construction techniques and materials possible. These "buildings" aren't
intended to be long-lasting -- and they don't last long. Not to mention
that they are all unutterably ugly.
I guess you could use them as outbuildings, greenhouses and warehouses
adjacent to the community gardens the parking lots should become.
Please folks, forget these damned things.
Pick your favorite city or town. Draw a circle with a half-mile radius
around the central square, commons, main intersection, or whatever. When
that area is appropriately compact, mixed-use, sustainably urban and
urbane, move out to the next zone. And so on.
By the time you get to the big boxes, everyone will know what to do.
If you need bigger schemes, build carfree cities from the ground up.
On Mon, 10 Oct 2005, Eric Dupre wrote:
> First, of course gas taxes should be higher, and this
> will discourage future big boxes.
> However, I am also struck by the similarities of the
> empty big boxes to Diocletian's Palace. His luxury
> palace on the Adriatic -- essentially, a big box made
> out of stone with better architecture -- became, at
> the fall of the Roman Empire, a new city. It was
> interesting to go to that city (Split) and see the
> "appartments" that used to be rooms in the palace.
> I'm not an engineer, and I wonder how long the boxes
> were designed to remain standing, how long the HVAC
> will remain mold-free, etc. But the idea of a big box
> becoming the marketplace for a pedestrian community
> that grows up around it seems both romantic and
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when the government is wrong."
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