The IDA recovery strategy published in 2021 remains increasingly relevant today, assurance that the insights gained from member focus groups and in-house research throughout the year prior are on point. Once again, the visionary leadership of IDA members clearly articulated what we are experiencing today.
The first recommendation to become (or remain) the trusted voice continues to manifest as we navigate rebuilding. IDA members are using data to illustrate accurate crime statistics that remain historically low or measure the pace of return to office. Our second recommendation to make public space adaptation permanent is taking shape in many cities, as seen in announcements to extend sidewalk use or make parklet programs permanent. IDA members and cities across North America have recognized that activating districts is a critical component of recovery. This is especially true for our next strategy, which requires maintaining and amplifying our advocate voice for a return to office. While the future of the office continues to unfold, on-the-ground work to activate, maintain and make commercial districts safe must be accompanied by a return to office campaign targeted at individual employees.
The final two strategies focus on the future and embody the leadership capacity of the place management industry. First is rebuilding with equity at the forefront which continues to manifest in small business and entrepreneurial support programs like BOOST in Baltimore as well as ongoing education and exploration within IDA member organizations to determine their role in dismantling systemic racism and inequities. And the second is planning for accelerated change in the decade ahead to unlock significant opportunities for our districts. It is this last strategy where we address the housing crisis, advance multi-modal transportation and consider the potential for building 15 minutes cities – a growing movement across the world
There is a significant amount of work to do. I cannot imagine a more innovative and effective group than IDA’s place management professionals to stitch together both the immediate and longer-range priorities for rebuilding. I was honored to recently work with the LA Fashion District Board and new Executive Director, Anthony Rodriguez, at their annual board retreat – the first face-to-face meeting they had in two years. Their keen insights and dedicated focus struck me. The parting theme of the day was aimed squarely at “address the immediate, position for the future.” The district faces street issues and safety concerns, a shifting and newly emerging tenant mix, and a Los Angeles mayoral race later this year. And still, they see incredible opportunities on the horizon for civic investment to support LA’s potential 2026 FIFA World Cup bid and the confirmed 2028 Olympic Games. The LA Fashion District is putting in the work to leverage its strengths today while beginning to rebuild for a brighter tomorrow. This is what we all do!