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.
As 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.