Liquor License Distribution in Boston: Exacerbating Economic Disenfranchisement
Abstract: Massachusetts liquor license policy sets a cap on the number of liquor licenses available to businesses in Boston that is lower than the caps in other municipalities in the Commonwealth. Since demand is much higher than the cap, there are rarely any available directly from the City. Instead, many businesses must buy their licenses from other businesses on the secondary market for a much ... read morehigher price. Some local politicians have argued that these exorbitant costs mean that restaurants and bars typically locate in White, wealthy, and gentrifying areas of the city in order to recoup this investment. As a result, commercial districts in Black and low-income neighborhoods have a more difficult time attracting restaurants, which play a key role in economic development. This project involves (1) a spatial analysis to determine if liquor licenses are clustering and whether this clustering is predicted by race, wealth, and redevelopment; and (2) three case studies involving interviews with Boston Main Streets executive directors about how bars and restaurants support commercial activity in their districts and whether current policies have stymied this dynamic.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2017.
Submitted to the Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.
Advisor: Mary Davis.
Committee: Sumeeta Srinivasan.
Keywords: Urban planning, and Geographic information science and geodesy.read less