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Policies and Planning in Support of Local Businesses
The Pratt Center is working with community partners on new neighborhood-based and citywide strategies to strengthen neighborhood retail as a strategy for community economic development in a worsening economy.
Our work to sustain local retail combines public policy advocacy with technical assistance projects to strengthen neighborhood retail in communities across the city, including East Harlem, downtown Brooklyn, the Lower East Side, and East New York. With our partners we help preserve and attract locally owned businesses, good jobs, and the retail services needed for a healthy community.
Our neighborhood retail team:
Provides technical assistance to community and civic organizations and elected officials seeking information and advice about local retail retention best practices. Our staff and students have met with organizations in Downtown Brooklyn, the East Village, Central Harlem, East Harlem, Park Slope, and other neighborhoods, and will soon convene a roundtable discussion with these community groups to give them an opportunity to share information and ideas.
Convenes interested stakeholders to discuss public policy options for how local retail can play a key role in strengthening local economies (in addition to the groups above, we have met with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s policy staff and State Senator Liz Kruger).
Addresses the “food deserts” that still exist in many communities by pursuing policy changes that will incentivize grocery store and local retail development. Our work with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, Good Jobs NY, and the National Employment Law Project has resulted in the drafting of recommended policy changes to address the obstacles to grocery store development. UFCW is currently using the findings and recommendations in its advocacy with the City and State. In addition, we continue to seek sources of support for this body of work and potentially plan/implement a half-day symposium bringing together community partners and policy officials to discuss the issues.
Resources for Sustaining Neighborhood Retail
- Saving Neighborhood Retail - Pratt Center Issue Brief [PDF]
- Pratt Center presentation on policy strategies
- Proposals for East Village Community Coalition
- "Maybe Beloved Shops Don't Have to Disappear," City Limits, July 2008
- Twilight Becomes Night - documentary on independent retail's struggles for survival in NYC