RETHINKING COMMERCIAL REVITALIZATION STRATEGIES TO SUPPORT AN EQUITABLE RECOVERY OF SMALL BUSINESSES

Client
NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF SMALL BUSINESS SERVICES
Faculty
Elizabeth Larsen
Team
Maxwell Bernstein, Michael Kim, Cinthia De La Rosa, Samantha Vickers-Hymowitz, Yuanchen Zhao

The New York City Department of Small Business Services’ Neighborhood Development Division (NDD) pursues commercial revitalization projects across the city to support small businesses and commercial corridors and enhance community resilience. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, many small businesses were struggling to make ends meet in a rapidly changing economy; the pandemic exacerbated this struggle, particularly in low income neighborhoods and communities of color. NDD engaged a Capstone team to assess the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses in heavily impacted neighborhoods, and to make recommendations for redeveloping its toolkit of commercial revitalization strategies. Focusing its efforts on three neighborhoods (East Harlem in Manhattan, Brownsville in Brooklyn, and Southern Boulevard in the Bronx), the team worked with community-based partners to conduct interviews and distribute surveys among key stakeholders, researched policy levers deployed in other localities, and analyzed publicly available datasets to evaluate the neighborhoods’ critical needs. Based on these findings, the team made programmatic, tactical, structural, and legislative recommendations to support an equitable economic recovery.

Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year