Breaking news about something not happening in the city: the renewal of many neighhourhood retail districts

Frances Bula’s latest column in Vancouver Magazine explores a topic I’ve often puzzled over: the economic drivers for Vancouver’s neighbourhood retail districts.

Her breaking news is that nothing is happening  in many areas. For many, that will be excellent news. For others, not so much.

Why are some districts apparently struggling — Dunbar and Davie St. come to mind — while others undergo transformation, too often to “category killers” like Shoppers’ Drug Mart? The Punjabi Market district is another troubled area with specific challenges to conrfont and even Commercial Drive, with the neighbourhood population actually below historic levels, has been slow to renew.

Some of the answers are here, as well as a warning that policy changes to encourage the retention of small retail may be hard to achieve. In the meantime, Bula has found some interesting explanations for why retail high streets may struggle while land values in surrounding neighbourhoods go off the charts.