Niching (pronounced "Nee Shing") is a powerful form of Clustering that is employed both intentionally as well as accidentally whenever one thinks of a "District". Using the Niching Strategy creates a Community of Interests, or an area which draws people to it because of a common interest that unites the end users of that community. It is also one of the least expensive and least risky strategies that can be employed to redevelop an abandoned or blighted area. What is Niching, how does it work? Lets explore these issues.
"Niching" is a strategy which creates a cluster of businesses that serve a 'niche' market.
What is a "Niche Market"? Any line of product or services that serves a special interest or a group of people who share a number of tastes in common.
For example. There are many people who love cars, and there are many places that sell to and/or serve the interests of people who are into cars.
But what about sportscars and sportscar enthusiasts? They are a sub group of people who like only a specific kind of car.
In any geographical area there might only be a small number of people who are interested in this 'niche'--- as a result there won't be much that appeals to their tastes directly even though there are plenty of places that sell cars..
However, if you counted all the people in a city who are interested in Sportscars there would be enough of them to fill a football field.
A successful 'niching strategy' would be one which created a cluster of businesses that specialized in this taste and had the ability to draw the aficionados of this interest to that business cluster.
This is called "niching", and it can be done on a large or small scale, designed to serve a single 'niche' or multiple niche combinations. (Think antique dealers, markets and vintage clothing shops in a district that alse serves the children of the people into the antique and vintage market, like a separate layer of shops that sells skateboards, hip clothing, and new electronics and pop artifacts)
There are in fact several very famous historical Niche Districts. Consider the Garment District in Manhattan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garment_District,_Manhattan
Or the bohemian districts of Paris, London, or even Atlanta (pictured)
A Bohemian District in Atlanta
The Meat Packing District, while now more of a Boho District, is another great example. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garment_District,_Manhattan Meat packing, Butchers and all the related industries formed a nucleus of business and commerce that still survives in the 35 meat packaging institutions in the district. At one time there were over 250.
Wall Street in New York is probably the biggest most grandiose Niched District in the world. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_street
Similarly, Fleet Street in London was home to so many of the great English publications, that it still means the British Press. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleet_Street