#SaveNYC

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Mar 23 2015

Location: 

New York City, NY

#SaveNYC is a grassroots, crowd-sourced, DIY movement
to protect and preserve the diversity and uniqueness
of the urban fabric in New York City.

As our vibrant streetscapes and neighborhoods are turned into bland, suburban-style shopping malls, filled with chain stores and glossy luxury retail, #SaveNYC is fighting for small businesses and cultural institutions to remain in place.

Our mission is to bring attention to the plight of Mom and Pop, and to lobby state and city government to implement significant and powerful protections for small businesses and cultural institutions across the five boroughs of New York City.

The devastation has been overwhelming. Protecting what remains will require a multi-pronged approach. Our first steps:

• To raise awareness, this website gathers video and photographic testimonials from people everywhere who love New York and want to see its diverse culture and heritage protected. We tweet and Instagram with the hashtag #SaveNYC, and run a Facebook group.

• Our first political objective is to pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (0402-2014). This bill will make it possible for small businesses to negotiate fair lease renewals with landlords, thus stemming the tide of mass evictions and catastrophic rent hikes.

How can we save New York? Here are some ideas.

Today, more than ever, the soul of New York City is getting murdered by rising rents, suburbanization, rampant development, and a flood of chain businesses. Hyper-gentrification is destroying the cultural fabric of the city.

The purpose of this site is to send a strong message to City Hall that something must be done — fast. Your voice can make a difference. Submit a video or story by following the links on this site, and tell the city’s leaders what needs to happen:

1. Pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act to create fair negotiations of commercial lease renewals, so landlords can’t use insane rent hikes to evict dependable and beloved business people.

Read more about the bill here
Click here to find your local council members — call and write, tell them to pass this bill now
Tweet your local council member, @NYCCouncil, and @MMViverito as often as possible and tell them to pass the SBJSA
2. Start a Cultural Landmarks program. While general commercial rent control may be unworkable, we can protect what little remains of the city’s oldest and most beloved small businesses by creating a selective rent control program. Rent control can be gifted to businesses that qualify for Cultural Landmarking. Local communities can nominate the businesses they want to protect.

San Francisco is leading the charge in this department–see SF Heritage for how they’re doing it.
Barcelona is doing it too.
3. Control the spread of chain businesses. Again, City Hall should follow the example of San Francisco, where the city controls “formula retail.” If Giuliani could keep adult businesses from operating near one another, then de Blasio can keep national chains from doing the same. A few chains are not a problem, but New York is being strangled by them. They drive up rents, contributing to the eviction of small businesses, as they destroy the unique character of the urban landscape, turning the city into Anywhere, USA.

See what San Francisco is doing here.
4. Take the million-dollar tax breaks away from Big Business and give them to Mom and Pop — and to Grandma and Grandpa.

Businesses that own their buildings are not safe either. They struggle with sky-high water bills and a Kafkaesque Department of Health. They often don’t know how to market themselves in the new age of social media, and they’re being bled alive by encroaching chains. Give them tax breaks, along with lower fees for violations and help with creative marketing.

5. Fine landlords who leave commercial spaces vacant, creating blight and blocking out small businesspeople while they wait for the right sky-high price, usually from a chain or luxury business.

In London, as an incentive to keep shops in use, and rents down, tax relief was taken away from businesses that keep properties empty for longer than 6 months.

Posted by hlevinso on