One measure of any profession is its ability to establish best practices to deliver reliable outcomes. Make no mistake; urban place management is a profession. Not simply because of the recent certification program which establishes the professional standard, but because a professional body of work created through decades of annual project awards exists and is examined routinely. This body of knowledge is a testament to the profession’s formation.
We are entering the IDA awards season, where we will recognize outstanding achievements while also refining best practices for the industry. The recognition of success is extraordinarily important to demonstrate the invaluable nature of the work IDA members perform each day. However, I am most inspired by the behind-the-scenes process, the peer-reviewed examination of professional practice standards.
Each year, deeply experienced experts gather to review, evaluate, and debate the merits of project submissions to determine whether the methods and outcomes constitute a best practice before adding it to the IDA Knowledge Center. Those best practice submissions deemed exceptional, transferable and innovative are further celebrated as the IDA Pinnacle Award-winning projects. This process, which leads to establishing best practices while recognizing outstanding achievements, is the foundation on which urban place management stands tall amongst all other professions.
Be it evaluating place activations, economic development programs, transportation projects or downtown plans; the peer review process is by far the most elegant way of establishing professional practices leading toward reliable outcomes. I invite you to submit your work and further expand the practice. Consider external-facing initiatives and vital organizational work, including strategic plans, exceptional governance systems, entrepreneurial approaches to resource development, or provision of unique services. The pandemic has demonstrated the nimble capability of IDA members to perform new and essential services. Let us look beyond only traditional projects and deep into all seven knowledge domains.