Local Business Engagement with a Purpose – Creating Actionable, Sustainable Development Plans

Last week, our client the Long Island City Partnership released the first phase of the first-ever Long Island City Comprehensive Plan. This report presents findings from a wide-ranging research effort, and recommends strategies for guiding LIC’s development to not only preserve but also capitalize on the neighborhood’s diverse mix of uses. We developed and analyzed core components of the research supporting the report, in particular by engaging local businesses. Through a survey and series of supplemental focus groups and interviews, we supported LICP to understand how businesses currently operate. Our research illuminated the central challenges of a variety of local stakeholders, and shaped LICP’s thinking on how to support the businesses, cultural institutions, and community organizations that make up this changing neighborhood.

licstudyarea-2016-12-01As we reflected on our work with LICP, we got to thinking about planning for change in all New York City neighborhoods – the ever-evolving metropolis where we live and work. We are big believers in the power of collaborative, community processes to create development plans that are actionable, sustainable over time, and make sense for the communities in which they are created. In particular, when it comes to making smart decisions about economic development interventions, the on-the-ground insights of businesses are essential to fostering a vibrant economic ecosystem. For instance, we knew that LIC was a dynamic, thriving community – with rapidly expanding residential units – but we couldn’t be sure its businesses were planning on staying in the area. Our business survey confirmed that 70% of businesses are, and that 87% anticipate growing while they do. We could then delve into their needs through focus groups and conversations to determine which policies will support growth and create a plan tailored for LIC businesses.

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“Career Pathways”: A New Vision for New York City’s Workforce Development System


Public Works Partners was proud to attend Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of a new vision for New York City’s workforce development system. It was the culmination of a six month engagement with the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, the Economic Development Corporation and the Jobs For New Yorker’s Task Force to articulate strategies that will transform our city’s workforce system, increasing its value to job seekers, current workers and employers.

This new vision builds on two of the existing system’s greatest strengths—an outcome orientation and a proven ability to serve employers. What’s new is a substantially greater emphasis on education and training investments, a strong focus on promoting job quality, and efforts to build a true system by better coordinating the City’s workforce agencies and better integrating economic and workforce development initiatives.

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New Report: “Small Business Success: A Blueprint for Turning More of New York City’s Small Businesses into Medium-Sized and Large Businesses”

Small Business SuccessWe’re pleased to announce the release of the Center for an Urban Future report, “Small Business Success: A blueprint for turning more of New York City’s small businesses into medium-sized and large businesses.” One of our principals, Mark Foggin, was the report’s lead author.

Over the last 13 years, the bulk of the growth in new businesses in New York has been in firms with fewer than five employees. But while a number of tech startups have experienced meteoric growth, the vast majority of small businesses in the city have never expand in a meaningful way. It’s not hard to fathom why most small businesses in the city stay small—if they survive at all. New York is one of the most expensive places to do business, and competition is fierce.

Yet, turning more of the city’s very small businesses into even modestly larger businesses is one of New York’s greatest opportunities for economic and employment growth in the next several years. If just one-third of the city’s 165,000 microbusinesses added one new employee, it would mean 55,000 additional jobs citywide.

The report provides case studies of small businesses who have succeeded in growing in recent years, as well as a blueprint of specific recommendations for what the de Blasio administration—as well as borough-wide economic development organizations, small business assistance groups and micro-enterprise organizations—could do to help more of the city’s small businesses grow to the next level.

Download the Report (PDF)

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