ONE ELEMENT MISSING: Politics.
I've heard and seen a lot of local comment today about a Washington Post Wonkblog article
describing how Walmart
money has "urbanized" Bentonville.
It's a nice account of familiar topics: How a fabulous art museum, fancy restaurants, a hip hotel and other big-city amenities have been underwritten in the town in part to make it more attractive to the sorts of young talent the Walmart corporation wants to attract to its headquarters to provide the brains for continued growth.
Missing, both from the article and Bentonville: The kind of progressive politicians that are familiar features in real urban areas in the U.S. I don't think many of the Benton County legislative delegation would fare too well in San Francisco, which I hear is doing pretty well in the technology sector. In fact, most of the Arkansas legislators from that region are sending out specific and intended signals that the kind of people you find in San Francisco — and I don't mean just LGBT people, but liberals of any stripe — are unwelcome. I wish the Washington Post had reported, for example, that "urbanized" Bentonville can't muster a majority vote for a Bentonville School District non-discrimination policy. Find a major U.S. city without such a policy.
PS — San Francisco DID get mentioned in the article, in the context of Bentonville's lack of Uber and mass transit.
Listening to some of the Repubs up there, you'd think their politics and not Walton money created Bentonville. Whatever you do, don't tell them that Helen Walton was a supporter of Planned Parenthood. And a member of one of those churches that allows gay marriages.