Make Room for Local Businesses in New Developments
Require new developments to include existing businesses on agreeable leases.
Small businesses in Kent, Washington, south of Seattle (photo by authors)
What's the issue?
How does this policy help?
When and where does this policy work best?
Clearly, this policy is most promising in communities where small businesses serve as integral job creators and cultural cornerstones. For example, in Los Angeles, culturally rich commercial corridors like Crenshaw Boulevard have become a major draw for gentrifiers, ironically placing their small businesses at risk for displacement or failure. A successful local tenant inclusion policy would help these small businesses capture the benefits of new development instead of competing with it.
Works best for neighborhoods in middle-stage gentrification
Works best when neighborhoods are/have...
What are some problems and how can we address them?
The main challenges to implementing this policy are first, tailoring it to specific neighborhoods so that it does not require set-asides for businesses that do not exist, and second, ensuring that leases satisfy both small business tenants and commercial real estate developers. If policymakers overcome these two challenges, they will promote local income recycling and secure the opportunity for entrepreneurship for disadvantaged groups. Just as importantly, they will preserve the local character which often makes neighborhoods so attractive for gentrification to begin with.