2018 National Planning Conference

Retail Planning in Underserved Communities

Saturday, April 21, 2018 from 10:45 a.m. - noon CDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC188201

Location: 230

Now Available from APA Learn

This course is now offered on the APA Learn educational platform.

Open in APA Learn Browse APA Learn catalog


  • What drive investor and retailer concerns about investment in undeserved markets
  • Policy and regulatory solutions for planners seeking to encourage commercial-corridor investment in diverse communities
  • How to replicate the impact targeted corridor investments and policies have had in New Orleans, Detroit, and Washington, D.C.


Ethnically and racially diverse communities face unique challenges when it comes to commercial-corridor revitalization efforts. Investment in the form of capital improvements, retail attraction, and new development can sometimes be stymied by investor concerns that are rooted in a misunderstanding of the true potential of these markets. Moreover, regulatory and zoning policies sometimes create additional roadblocks that can make investments in more conventional markets more attractive by comparison. So what prevents investment in these communities and how can planners overcome the resistance? This session will cover a mix of regulatory, policy, and investment tools that planners have at their disposal when developing commercial-corridor revitalization programs, with an emphasis on racially and ethnically diverse communities. Speakers from New Orleans, Detroit, and New York will discuss the obstacles faced by their communities, offer a deeper understanding of why the private market is resistant to entry into underserved markets like these, and discuss the options that planners have in addressing the commercial and retail needs of these diverse communities.

Session Speakers

Sue Mobley
New Orleans, LA

Larisa Ortiz
Larisa Ortiz Associates
Jackson Heights, NY

Melissa Lee
New Orleans Redevelopment Authority
New Orleans, LA

Kimberly Driggins
City of Detroit, Planning & Development Department (PDD)
Detroit, MI