Marlys McPherson and Glenn Silloway
The relationship between small commercial centers (SCCs) and characteristics of urban neighborhoods was investigated in a study of 24 SCCs, and their surrounding areas, in Minneapolis- St. Paul. Results provided support for the dependency thesis that characteristics of SCCs are strongly influenced by the nature of their surrounding market area. But support was also obtained for a counter-dependency thesis. Regardless of current neighborhood conditions, or recent changes in the area, business merchants' expectations and optimism regarding the future of an area were stimulated through collective action and organizational participation; behaviors that are likely, ultimately, to result in improved conditions in SCCs. It was also observed that residents' perceptions of conditions in their local SCC were related to their overall attachment to their neighborhood. These results suggest that SCCs can play a role in slowing or reversing decline in an urban neighborhood, and are not always victims of changes in the surrounding residential fabric. Implications for urban revitalization policy were suggested.