Neighborhood business districts represent an enormous social, physical, and economic resource in countless urban and suburban communities around the country. Local commercial districts are often where residents shop, do business, and celebrate heritage and local cultures. As such, they are important to local economies, offer nearby access to goods and services, and can act as an extended neighborhood community space, providing neighbors with a common sense of identity and community cohesion. For all of these reasons, Bay Area LISC launched the Neighborhood Marketplace Initiative (“NMI”) in 1996.
NMI’s goal is to support effective neighborhood-led comprehensive change programs in low to moderate income local commercial districts, and to do so with a holistic approach that emphasizes local leadership in planning, implementing, and coordinating a variety of community and economic development activities. Through this structure, communities gain control over changes in their commercial district by influencing new business location decisions; new real estate development and successfully advocating for physical improvements.
Between 2005 and 2012, NMI helped create 1,605 jobs; attracted 983 businesses; brought 1.28 million visitors to the neighborhoods; recruited more than 13,045 volunteers, and leveraged over $140 million in physical improvements.
The success of this program was further endorsed in 2012 when San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee launched “Invest In Neighborhoods” (IIN), a programmatic and geographic expansion of NMI that supports 25 neighborhoods and builds upon the work that Bay Area LISC and the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development developed under the Neighborhood Marketplace Initiative (NMI). Bay Area LISC views the NMI model as a vehicle for broader neighborhood change that attracts new businesses; creates jobs for local residents; and transforms communities into safer places to live, work and raise families.
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