Big Box Urbanism

Big box retail is an urbanism all its own, primarily a logistical expression of space. Customers do not oppose big box development projects; communities do. Many contest the subsequent transformations in their communities even though these transformations reflect a mainstream restructuring of retail. Their development realities have not yet yielded agreeable models of community design as big boxes are less stores and more the last warehouse in a supply chain of warehouses.

In Big Box Urbanism, formative methods from the ecological sciences are employed to create a development transect consisting of five ecotones. The ecotones describe edge effects between public street, outer ring parking, inner ring parking, building frontage, a store "decompression" zone, and checkouts. This grammar of context production (it’s not about the building as an object) provides a vocabulary to engage the placelessness underwriting big box development.

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