Southwest Partnership Project Economic Development Team
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The Southwest Partnership has made significant progress in exploring the existing status of commercial development in their seven neighborhoods. This project will support this work using geospatial analysis and visualization to further the Southwest Partnership’s economic development goals. Data provided by the Southwest Partnership on existing businesses was geocoded and represented on a map of the seven neighborhoods and their immediate surroundings. The businesses in the Southwest Partnership area were categorized according to a display-friendly schema. The three main layers presented are vacant parcels with commercial and industrial zoning, business locations by category, and transit lines and stops. Major observations include the residential nature of most northern and southern neighborhoods, with the most concentrated and varied business activity in the central Hollins Market neighborhood and its borders. This neighborhood is also well-served by transit, is commercially zoned, and contains multiple vacant properties, suggesting its suitability for future business development. The report concludes that geospatial portrayal of business locations and types can contribute to future economic development strategies in the Southwest Partnership. However, several further steps would help solidify the information base. More accurate and comprehensive business information with respect to operating status and confirmed type of business conducted at each location is necessary, likely by visual survey. Additionally, resident feedback about new businesses and locations will help validate the analysis presented here that summarized existing types, gaps, and possible locations for future enterprises. The user-friendly, online GIS format of the final map product should prove useful in both presenting the analysis to the Southwest Partnership and form a basis for future work.