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bchris02

Little Rock vs. NWA

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Yes the Europeans are way ahead of the US in this. But I still think we're going to hear more about this in the upcoming years. Maybe Fayetteville pushing to become a 'center' of environmental sustainability is mostly wishful thinking. But I don't think you can so easily dismiss it either. Nobody saw Wal-mart, Tyson and JB Hunt coming out of NWA either.

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One major problem I see is that every 5 years or so, NWA (or more to the point Fayetteville) is billing itself as the next great center for this or that. In the early 90's it was going to be microelectronics, a few years later it was nanotech and MEMs, now it's "green" industry. Everytime someone dreams up what Fayetteville is going to be next, they get some pork barrel funding and build a building somewhere to it and things never live up to the billing. In the more recent examples, Fayetteville actually has managed to generate a few new jobs and possibly some stable startup companies that might eventually do some fabulous things. I'm not criticizing the dreaming but maybe the execution and most definitely the shifting priorities. However, at least people ARE trying to be progressive and get outside the box of wal-mart, etc. It's a slow process and maybe in another 30 years or so some of these claims could pan out.

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I think NWA is a decidedly unlikely spot. It's extremely conservative, not a green demographic. It's urban sprawl with no public transportation, kind of the antithesis of this. Furthermore, Green technology is engineering-driven. I would expect it to thrive where you have liberals and a plethora of engineers - northern California, the Northeast, etc. Companies like AERT in Springdale and Thermoenergy in LR are relevant but hardly indicative of a big movement to the region.

Any industry faces a huge shortage of educated employees in NWA. This is why I don't see lots of companies starting up there or moving there while WM is still doing well.

Remus isn't realistic about these things. You kind of have to take a "grain of salt" approach with his comments. I thought his optimism would be tempered a bit by all of the projects that fell through in the last couple of years up there but it isn't yet. I think your assessment is the same as mine.

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No, I believe you are unrealistic about things. If you would read the newspaper lately, the Washington Post is labeling Fayetteville, AR as the "Green Valley." Also, in the past 3 months several huge stories surfaced:

1. Over 15 startup sustainability companies are now in Fayetteville that have moved from the East and West Coasts about to expand and get bigger. If this happens, it has a huge potential for sustainability.

2. Saatchi and Saatchi X, one of the largest agencies in the world, just opened up a new office called Saatchi and Saatchi S (S for Sustainability). This will bring in over 100 jobs to Fayetteville.

3. Case Stack, a sustainability logistics company, just opened up another corporate office in Fayetteville and is moving many of its people from Los Angeles to Fayetteville.

4. U of A has a Sustainability Research Center now. Walmart just donated 1. 5 million to the center.

5. Fayetteville has a sustainability director for the city.

6. Fayetteville has strict ordinances on building, keeping trees, and preserving nature. This only helps attract new companies that are environmentally related.

7. Walmart is now the poster child for sustainability. That in itself will attract many new sustainability companies.

I could keep going on and on about the information we hear weekly in our paper about the sustainability movement going on in Fayetteville. Fayetteville is very progressive and I would say the most progressive place in the state. Yes, the rest of NWA is conservative, but so are parts of California. Even Northern California has pockets of conservatism.

So once again, I am realistic because these are all facts!!!

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Why does everybody in NWA automatically assume Little Rock is a crime filled blue-collar industrial wasteland? It must be because NWA residents associate more with Tulsa as their big city and few of them ever go to LR. The areas with the highest income in the state are in the LR metro and anybody who lives here knows that the crime is very localized in a specific part of town that people just don't go. LR also has a diverse economy and is in no way dominated by manufacturing. Ft. Smith and Pine Bluff are the manufacturing centers of the state.

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I don't think it's so much an assumption as a statement of facts, especially to NWA standards. Crime is horrible in Little Rock, just be thankful L.R. is overshadowed by Memphis nowadays. No HBO specials lately but the crime is still there.

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I think you blow things way out of proportion. There is no comparing NWA to California period. A signifficant portion of the growth in NWA has been fueled by people escaping places like California. I read that article and yes these jobs are a good thing. They will be needed because Wal-Mart will not stay on top forever, no retail giant does. These jobs may give the NWA economy something to fall back on if one day Wal-Mart isn't what it is today. But remember, potential jobs do not equal actual job growth.

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Actually...I can VERY easily compare NWA to some parts of CA, and with an extremely favorable outcome. Like, the central valley and some of the lower sierra areas. While the lower sierras are gorgeous, it's not totally unlike remote parts of the ozarks. In fact, walking into a grocery store in a town there, we felt much like what people from NY would probably feel if they walked into some store in Japser. Bakersfield...wow, what a dump.

As for Wal-Mart being the poster child of sustainability...well, they have done a LOT to reduce their carbon footprint and it's not totally unreasonable that they might be the leader in that area in the retail marketplace. I'll reserve my judgement because I have no idea what the competition is doing to reduce their carbon footprint. Their motivation may be totally PR but their newer stores are much more "green" than those built 20 or even 10 years ago. Judging from where they came from wrt green initiatives they can still do a lot more. Poster child, maybe not, but they are doing a lot. The key thing here is that when Wal-Mart throws money at something to look good, things happen. Look at how the UA School of Business jumped in the national rankings when Wal-Mart threw millions and millions at it!! It's not totally far fetched that they could spawn a very competitive green industry in NWA. The question would be, will this industry even try to compete for business outside the WM marketplace????

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Walmart is doing no good in the field of sustainability which can compare to the damage it has caused to sustainable living in American society. It's nice that they're making their new buildings greener (but they're not even retrofitting their old stores, are they?), but the fact that every one of their stores is inaccessible to pedestrians or public transport, promotes automobile use both in trucking things to the store and customers getting there, has never built their stores with an eye to protecting the sometimes-fragile land they're on, has killed many small town businesses, which were located in a highly accessible and thus less-car-dominated environment, etc., negates any good they're doing.

There is no way for Walmart to repay all the debt it has to the American society.

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Walmart is doing no good in the field of sustainability which can compare to the damage it has caused to sustainable living in American society. It's nice that they're making their new buildings greener (but they're not even retrofitting their old stores, are they?), but the fact that every one of their stores is inaccessible to pedestrians or public transport, promotes automobile use both in trucking things to the store and customers getting there, has never built their stores with an eye to protecting the sometimes-fragile land they're on, has killed many small town businesses, which were located in a highly accessible and thus less-car-dominated environment, etc., negates any good they're doing.

There is no way for Walmart to repay all the debt it has to the American society.

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I'll say this:

I think the metros are more like now than at any other time in their histories.

NWA is closer in size to LR than ever before.

NWA is more diverse racially than ever before.

I really expect LR to take an upswing in the near future. It has too much going for it not to. LR has as much natural beauty as NWA if you ask me. It has more culturally going on and as a previous poster pointed out, a more diverse economy.

NWA, on the other hand, offers more opportunities to get out of town. A person can live in a pretty remote holler of the Ozarks, and still be 30 minutes from the office. It also has the U of A. A major university like U of A would have a huge impact on LR, too. Heck, U of A DOES impact LR culturally, and its 200 miles away.

I don't really think there is a lot to compare about the two, except that they are both small to medium sized metros in the same state. That is really where the similarities end.

As for who will wind up with more PF Changs or Pottery Barn...beats me. Both are decent places to live and work, and in that regard, both are far ahead of many other places in the U.S.

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Wait... I have a great idea... since carbon emissions are destroying the planet, let's put an end to all the damaging exercise that's going on. Think about it... all these joggers and bike-riders are breathing unnecessarily hard. We can put a stop to it!

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Walmart is doing no good in the field of sustainability which can compare to the damage it has caused to sustainable living in American society. It's nice that they're making their new buildings greener (but they're not even retrofitting their old stores, are they?), but the fact that every one of their stores is inaccessible to pedestrians or public transport, promotes automobile use both in trucking things to the store and customers getting there, has never built their stores with an eye to protecting the sometimes-fragile land they're on, has killed many small town businesses, which were located in a highly accessible and thus less-car-dominated environment, etc., negates any good they're doing.

There is no way for Walmart to repay all the debt it has to the American society.

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This post amazes me on so many levels.

Wal-Mart has been nothing but a net gain for America as a whole. They are no different from any other big-box store except that they are more successful (and hence the big boy everyone picks on) and they offer items at a lower price than almost anyone else. It's not a bad thing. Yes, they can be more green (ummm, so can Target...but no once cares because they are so much smaller than Wal-Mart). The simple fact is that WM, Target etc are they way they are because PEOPLE SHOP THERE. If there is fault, then it's ours as people. People blame the faceless corporation because its easier than owning the responsibility.

Does the small time shop owner typically think about the environment when they build? No, they build wherever they can. Should that mentality change? Yes. But to pin this on the big mighty corporation is inappropriate. And as far as WM putting the little man out of business...once again, blame you, me, and everyone else who shops there. Don't blame WM. We could shop somewhere else and we don't. Own it, don't throw it at the corporation that provides thousands of jobs to people (and I might add, better insurance than most of their competitors).

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You're wrong. We're not going to agree. I'm not arguing with you again.

I agree that Walmart is no worse than other big corporations. That was just the one we were talking about, so it was the one I gave examples for.

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No, I believe you are unrealistic about things. If you would read the newspaper lately, the Washington Post is labeling Fayetteville, AR as the "Green Valley." Also, in the past 3 months several huge stories surfaced:

1. Over 15 startup sustainability companies are now in Fayetteville that have moved from the East and West Coasts about to expand and get bigger. If this happens, it has a huge potential for sustainability.

2. Saatchi and Saatchi X, one of the largest agencies in the world, just opened up a new office called Saatchi and Saatchi S (S for Sustainability). This will bring in over 100 jobs to Fayetteville.

3. Case Stack, a sustainability logistics company, just opened up another corporate office in Fayetteville and is moving many of its people from Los Angeles to Fayetteville.

4. U of A has a Sustainability Research Center now. Walmart just donated 1. 5 million to the center.

5. Fayetteville has a sustainability director for the city.

6. Fayetteville has strict ordinances on building, keeping trees, and preserving nature. This only helps attract new companies that are environmentally related.

7. Walmart is now the poster child for sustainability. That in itself will attract many new sustainability companies.

I could keep going on and on about the information we hear weekly in our paper about the sustainability movement going on in Fayetteville. Fayetteville is very progressive and I would say the most progressive place in the state. Yes, the rest of NWA is conservative, but so are parts of California. Even Northern California has pockets of conservatism.

So once again, I am realistic because these are all facts!!!

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I don't think it's so much an assumption as a statement of facts, especially to NWA standards. Crime is horrible in Little Rock, just be thankful L.R. is overshadowed by Memphis nowadays. No HBO specials lately but the crime is still there.

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You realistic? Nope, when you need a reality check I'm the one that has to cash it for you.

I'm the one that told you that the arena project in NWA wasn't realistic and that the people behind it wouldn't be able to pull it off when you thought it was too small and you guys had a WNBA team on the way.

I'm the one that said Barbers' condo projects, particularly the ones in Benton Co, were way out of proportion with what the market would support. Meanwhile you were gushing about a condo canyon along I-540. Nope.

I told you months ago I couldn't see a Cheesecake Factory or Nordstrom's in NWA and there isn't one.

Now I'm telling you that Fayetteville won't be some sustainability mecca and WM is not a "green" company. It has made a few strides but it's not doing the things a good corporate citizen does, which is why it is accepted in Arkansas and Texas and loathed in liberal areas like the Northeast and West Coast.

I love Fayetteville, I spend 4 or more weekends a year up there and have family in Rogers. I enjoy visiting and there are a lot of things I love about the area. I have the luxury of perspective. Mith, cocothief and most of the NWA posters here are great but some of you, in particular, you seem to have a huge chip on your shoulder. You're on the LR board trying to impress everyone here and make us agree that NWA is some spectacular place to live and everyone should be jealous. We aren't. I chose to live in LR over Dallas, NWA, and a lot of other places. It's a great place to live. Remus in particular seems to lack any real knowledge of the area. Based on his comments I'm confident he's never spent any substantial amount of time here.

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Correction, I grew up in Little Rock and now live in NWA. NWA is, in my opinion, must cleaner and safer. I went to North Little Rock High School and it used to be a top high school in the Little Rock area. Now, the caliper of students going through the school is declining. Teachers are dropping out like flies and the area is getting really low quality teachers. What does that spell? A problem for the future of Little Rock if students are getting taught by low quality teachers.

There was recently a shooting at the Walmart Parking Lot in North Little Rock.

My Grandmother's friends have been mugged several times at McCain Mall. It is just terrible! That never happend years ago. If Little Rock schools continue to decline, people will not want to move into Little Rock because they won't want to send their children to those type of schools.

The only reason most of the projects have not panned out right now is that the real estate market here is similar to the rest of the country. Its bankrupt! Barber's project would have come to fruition in Benton County is the market had not turned overnight like it did all over the US. There are still around 900 people moving here per month. That is less than the 1200 that were moving here per month. That is still substantial if you look at it.

I think Little Rock has a lot of great attractions. However, the future is in NWA because of the great schools, low crime rate, low cost of living, amenities, natural beauty, and talent from the University of Arkansas. I really like to use Austin as a great example. This city was a college town years ago. It wasn't until Dell started up that the city blossomed into a high-tech mecca. It is located in Texas, not the East or West Coasts. People are drawn to Austin because of the "Weirdness" of the city. It attracts a lot of highly educated young people.

Fayetteville is similar because of the hippy, tree-hugging type of mentality in the city. This is why I believe sustainability companies will WANT to located in Fayetteville. The city has always been environmentally conscious and it will only continue to do so. I am personally getting my Masters part time right now through the Walton College of Business and I know of everything going on in the areas of business in Fayetteville. There are so many projects and startups that are on the verge of exploding into something huge. Plus, the Walton College of Business keeps moving up in the rankings of best Colleges every year. This will only continue to attract the best and brightest students and hopefully they will continue to stay in Arkansas. I don't see the growth of NWA coming to a halt ANYTIME soon.

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Correction, I grew up in Little Rock and now live in NWA. NWA is, in my opinion, must cleaner and safer. I went to North Little Rock High School and it used to be a top high school in the Little Rock area. Now, the caliper of students going through the school is declining. Teachers are dropping out like flies and the area is getting really low quality teachers. What does that spell? A problem for the future of Little Rock if students are getting taught by low quality teachers.

There was recently a shooting at the Walmart Parking Lot in North Little Rock.

My Grandmother's friends have been mugged several times at McCain Mall. It is just terrible! That never happend years ago. If Little Rock schools continue to decline, people will not want to move into Little Rock because they won't want to send their children to those type of schools.

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While the University is a great asset, the economy and growth of NWA is tied completely to Wal-Mart. I don't see the growth in NWA coming to a halt anytime soon, but I don't expect 50% growth rates either like has been seen. It will continue at a slower, more healthy pace. Hopefully the infrastructure will be improved to better support it. NWA was never meant to be a metropolitan area as it has become. It would be nicer if the growth had been centered around Fayetteville rather than sprawling up I-540 all the way to the Missouri border.

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I believe UAF plays a much larger role that you're making it. UALR employees over 700. I imagine that number gets doubled at Fayetteville.

More importantly, the youth that come to Fayetteville from outside NWA don't come because of WalMart. They come because of UAF. Wal-Mart is doing a great job of providing employment; both as the principle employer and a third-party employer (i.e. Case Stack, see RemusCal ref somewhere above). No one is arguing that NWA has enough economic diversity currently. UAF is the institution best positioned to facilitate increased economic diversity in NWA.

I agree the growth rates in NWA will continue at a healthy pace. I bet that pace will be healthier than LR Metro for the next 10 years. This may help NWA reduce the population gap between LR Metro and NWA by 20 - 30K over that time. However, in 10 years, anything could happen.

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