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Around the World in 40 Blocks: Small business perspectives on the effects of diversity on the retail corridor in Jackson Heights, Queens

Zaman, Rawnak N.

Jackson Heights’ small businesses are as diverse as its residents, and with that comes unique priorities for the main retail corridor. This study compared the experiences of businesses that specialize in cultural items, specifically from South Asia, and more general neighborhood businesses. Both categories of businesses valued the role that reputation plays in attracting customers, built over years of operating in the neighborhood, community engagement, or co-ethnic ties. The spatial clustering of South Asian establishments has further enabled those businesses, which are also supported by transnational forces, to draw customers from the same foot traffic. These same advantages become a challenge as the corridor’s customers change. These businesses were concerned about staying competitive, citing reduced traffic in recent years and generational changes. Meanwhile, most of the general businesses, especially those near the neighborhood’s co-ops, were optimistic. Both categories of businesses expressed a desire for the corridor to modernize and acknowledged that different parts of the corridor seemed to operate independently, with little neighborhood-wide cohesion. Demographics and the built environment helped shaped the current ecosystems of these distinct segments of the corridor and can disrupt them, as well.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Devlin, Ryan T.
Degree
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
August 13, 2020