National Geographic : 2001 Jul
DEFINING CHOICES Start with a dream-of a new, affordable home in a safe place with good schools. Maybe it's in sub-suburban California (right), or near Phoenix, Arizona (top right), or in Fulton County, Georgia (above). Wherever it is, when it comes time to shop, odds are you'll drive miles to the nearest mall or to a "big box" retailer-megastores that have helped close the Main Streets of America. "Short term we get cheap underwear at Wal-Mart," says Al Norman, founder of Sprawl Busters, which helps towns repel the big companies. "But in the long run we raise our taxes and hurt our local economy and com munity. Everything you buy is an investment in something."