Can Communities Zone for Small Merchants?

New York City is trying. I’m skeptical. As long as the aggregation of zoning laws continues to cap the total available space in high-demand metropolitan regions, I don’t suspect that slicing and dicing the existing land-use allocations will have much of an effect on land costs, which are ultimately the bottom line. On the other hand, preserving a significant number of smaller spaces might, at least, leave some options on the table for merchants with fewer resources who seek a physical presence in the neighborhood– in much the same way that tiny studio apartments permit many individuals to live in neighborhoods (at market rates) where they could not purchase full-sized units. So, it should be an interesting experiment.