> In North-American zoning, zones clearly specify which use is allowed on it. In general, zones allow only one or two uses. For example, a residential single-family detached home zone tolerates only single-family detached houses. Don't try to put a convenience store or a school in one, nor a duplex.
This is purely a suburban problem and typical of the short sightedness of suburban development, which often corrupts the political process because a mandated retail lot is one less high-profit residential home they can't sell.
Here in the city, there are shops everywhere. Mix use residential is fairly common with retail on the ground floor and condos/apartments up top. This has created a glut of storefronts with varying results. Its nice to have all these shops, but the glut of small storefronts means much lowered rents than before so a lot of fly-by-night businesses take over, and in my opinion, hurt the neighborhood like pawn shops, yet another open 4am tattoo shop, yet another shitty independent cricket/boost reseller, yet another liquor convenience store, yet another e-cig store, yet another detailing/hand carwash, yet another gourmet-style restaurant that will fold in 12 months, etc. Desireable shops like Trader Joes or Nordstrom can't open in those tiny and no parking storefronts so its high margin retail junk.
This isn't as common anymore -- thank god, but when I was a kid, every other residential block in Chicago had a corner bar. A few nice, but most just depressing places full of serious drunks causing problems all through the night. So yeah, being too liberal with business licenses isn't so great.
So this kind of thing cuts both ways, but yes, in the suburbs its especially bad. But at least they have the roads and capacity to handle it and their shopping centers are massive, which is nice as you can park at a giant mall or strip mall and get everything you need done. I can't do that, I have no giant structures like this remotely near me. In the city, we need closer stores because of how bad traffic and parking are. If suburban driving was this bad then they'd have the political impetus to change zoning.
It's mostly a zoning problem— for whatever reason, America treasures areas of purely single-family homes, probably because it creates an economic barrier that enforces a general demographic sameness in an area. That means that, even if you wanted to open a corner store in a neighborhood by building a storefront at the base of a house, as was traditional in the United States (e.g. http://www.moline.il.us/images/pages/N716/1403%207th%20Ave%2... ) it'd be illegal.
And Trader Joe's can and does operate in no-parking storefronts in sufficiently dense neighborhoods.
Those fly-by-night establishments are what keep a neighborhood vibrant at night, though. I understand that's not what everyone is looking for, but all else being equal, a populated neighborhood is safer than an empty one.
In my neck of the woods, population density is not an issue. The decision by condo developers to dedicate the bottom floor to small retail storefronts has surprisingly become quite disruptive!
I don't consider pawn shops and e-cig shops keeping things vibrant. Nice bars and clubs, restaurants, and unique retail do. Personally, I think pawn shops and payday loan stores are predatory and should be highly regulated if not eliminated. High margin junk like that edges out nicer stores because condo associations just want to go with the quick cash. For example, a lot of women here would love more boutique stores but the rent these stores can afford is being edged out by the guy selling $50 e-cigs. Then the e-cig market will normalize, crash, and these guys will go away, but we've chased off the boutique crowd and our neighborhood is now known for e-cigs, pawnshops, and tattoo parlours. That isn't terribly appealing, especially in Chicago where we have world-class tattoo artists within a short CTA ride away. Why go with the local shady scratcher on the corner? In other words, we are already vibrant.
I do very much like that we have mixed zoning bringing some unique things like a very nice comic book shop and lots of interesting small restaurants that would otherwise have a hard time renting a proper stand-alone brick and mortar store. I think this is all working itself out or will in the long run. I've already seen multiple shady convenience stores go out of business, but that's largely because we won't give them liquor licenses as there are already enough liquor outlets within walking distance. I think one of the vape lounges died recently too and newer development seems to be attracting a higher caliber of business. Maybe the low end high margin stuff is maximized for our neighborhood at this point? Or maybe condo associations are learning that its within their interests to be more discriminating and vetting businesses that might affect their property values, the neighborhood feel, neighborhood safety, etc.
I'm okay letting the market sort it out, but I think its fair to say that all this sudden cheap retail space in an gentrifying urban neighborhood can be disrupting in a bad way until things get sorted out. The argument above that the suburbs should accept this model without criticism is weak sauce. I've lived in poorer suburbs that saw their city counterparts do well with heavy retail and became more liberal with business licenses and now these suburbs just became liquor store, payday loan, and fast food havens. Large blocks of residential with no retail in the suburbs is a feature, not a bug. They're trying to avoid these and other problems (noise, traffic, etc) by segregating the two. Its actually a smart approach if you have the land and the roads to pull it off. If you guys are unhappy in the suburbs because of that, then come join us in the city.
> High margin junk like that edges out nicer stores because condo associations just want to go with the quick cash. For example, a lot of women here would love more boutique stores but the rent these stores can afford is being edged out by the guy selling $50 e-cigs.
I don't understand, you just claimed the rent is too low, now you are saying it's too high for boutiques.
> I'm okay letting the market sort it out.
You just wrote 4 paragraphs on why you're not ok with letting the market sort it out. The "market" (people who live in your neighborhood) is obviously supporting this "high margin junk." Maybe your neighbors aren't interested in overpriced boutique crap?
> Or maybe condo associations are learning that its within their interests to be more discriminating and vetting businesses that might affect their property values, the neighborhood feel, neighborhood safety, etc.
Let me tl;dr your post for you - "I don't like poor people."
Where I live, we're swimming in "bodegas", which are full of soda, canned food, processed white bread -- nothing you'd want to eat. Most of the people who can afford to or who commute shop at... Trader Joe's.
5 years ago, Paul Phillips was still a core contributor to Scala. Anyone seriously considering Scala should listen to his talk, titled “We’re doing it all wrong”, and take a look at Policy, his fork of the Scala compiler.
> When formulated using Bayesian networks, two standard decision algorithms (Evidential Decision Theory and Causal Decision Theory) can be shown to fail systematically when faced with aspects of the prisoner’s dilemma and so-called “Newcomblike” problems. We describe a new form of decision algorithm, called Timeless Decision Theory, which consistently wins on these problems.
— Alex Altair, MIRI, “A Comparison of Decision Algorithms on Newcomblike Problems”