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Want to Fight Bars and Chains? Know Thy Neighbor, Says Urban Planner

Economic Development SubcommitteeNatalie Rinn The Economic Development Subcommittee.

New zoning meant to encourage retail diversity in the East Village might not go far enough, Community Board 3 considered last night. Speaking to the board’s Economic Development Subcommittee, an urban planner urged attendees to consider forming a group that would gather consumer data used to encourage landlords to let the butcher and baker move in — instead of the barkeep or “Sandwich Artist.”

The more aggressive — and costly — approach to retail diversity is also the most effective, said Larisa Ortiz, the head of Larisa Ortiz Associates, a consulting firm for commercial districts.

Only by collecting hard data that demonstrates that a fishmonger or cobbler (for example) can prosper in the neighborhood will landlords let them move in, Ms. Ortiz said. Read more…