On booze and communities

by pkerkstra on July 19, 2011

Alcohol is a really curious commodity, one with an outsized ability to shape communities, for good and ill. My Inquirer column today looks at how alcohol both fuels and slows community redevelopment, in the context of the potential legalization of Pennsylvania’s state store system. Full story here. An excerpt:

We don’t usually think of it this way, but booze can be a force for tremendous community good and a real redevelopment engine. Consider Northern Liberties. Long before the Piazza opened up and the fine restaurants moved in, Northern Liberties was known for its bar scene. Establishments like the Standard Tap and the 700 Club (now more than a decade old) were among the first major commercial investments in the neighborhood, helping to draw developer Bart Blatstein’s interest. … But as obviously good as more and better booze options might be for Center City, the case is less clear in other urban neighborhoods. For one thing, if the experience of other states is any guide, we can expect an overabundance of liquor stores to move into low-income neighborhoods.

Previous post:

Next post: