The pandemic has hurt many small businesses and local economies, especially in rural areas. But relief is slower to reach rural businesses. So the Brookings Institution's Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking and the National Main Street Center studied how small businesses' proximity to each other in a commercial corridor, or shopping district, could help them survive, Michael Powe and Hanna Love report for the Brookings Institution.
"Thebenefits of urban downtowns
are well documented, as density and proximity to people, jobs, and amenities can help fuel population and economic growth. And although NMSC has long touted the similar benefits of revitalizing downtowns in rural communities, the advantages of rural downtowns are not as widely documented," Powe and Love report. "Now, understanding these dynamics is more imperative than ever. The pandemic is putting rural downtowns—many of which are still struggling to recover from thelast recession
—in an increasingly precarious economic position due to their heavy reliance on retail and restaurants, as well as their limited access to thecapital
small businesses now need to survive."