Teeny local businesses… and what we need to make them ubiquitous again

Little hyper-local neighbourhood businesses are great for 1,000 reasons, but they’ve been killed off by zoming rules and big-box shopping. So how do we let them come back?

“Residential” zoning – with no “commercial” activity – has a lot to answer for, including that thing where you have to get in the car and drive 10 minutes to fetch… anything.

It hasn’t always been this way – and even in NZ cities, it’s only been this way for a few decades.

For a lovely summary of why tiny neighbourhood businessess are the best, which applies 100% to New Zealand too, check out this great video from excellent Canadian urban videomakers AboutHere.

(And make sure you watch to the end – there’s a twist!)

And then: the New Zealand context!

This excellent piece from GreaterAuckland last year neatly summarises the whole situation, and shows how zoning is making great projects really hard.

Happy news: things are changing, slowly… see page 12-13 here, with lessons that should be applied in all our towns!

And in very small news: even while zoning is stuck the same, changes to roads and streets can help neighbourhood businesses.

What kind of tiny corner businesses would you like to see springing up in your neighbourhood?

What ones do you have already?

Who’s doing stuff to bring back more local businesses into a residential area?

Image credit: Wellington City Council (without markup)

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