January 14, 2020
IDA members in Washington, DC, and each state capital, are bracing for protests in advance of next week’s presidential inauguration. Street closures here in DC begin to take effect today and are expected to last beyond the January 20th Oath of Office by the new administration. With the National Guard being activated throughout state capitals, the week ahead looks to be the exclamation point on a historical year of civil unrest, a health pandemic and an economic recession. I remain hopeful, however, that the week following allows us all to seize the opportunity to unite behind a common goal of recovery and begin to mend the economic, social and environmental wounds so deeply exposed last year.
At year-end, the Federal Government in Canada released goals for a $100 billion, 3-year recovery investment. The Biden administration is said to be aiming for a multi-trillion dollar stimulus plan. Perhaps the most universal highlight coming out of the pandemic (and examples were pouring in year-round from IDA members) was how existing local partnerships were strengthened and many new partnerships formed. Collective action by place management organizations across the globe united them with local leaders and partners their communities will need to effectively respond to expected federal recovery investment. As noted by Bruce Katz in The Philadelphia Citizen, “federal investments only work when they are designed, deployed and delivered by local entities who know their places best.” The very same partnerships that came together to respond to the crisis in 2020 must now look forward and take aim at constructive and collaborative recovery.
As we get past the horrific images from last week… As cities across the globe emerge from new lockdowns… As deployment of the vaccine improves and begins to mitigate the effects of the pandemic… We must be ready to unite alongside our local partners and municipalities. IDA place management organizations have demonstrated their ability to administer small business grant programs, provide homeless outreach services, maintain clean and safe public spaces, provide workforce training, and support the return of the office worker. Overcoming the pandemic illustrated the essential nature of our services to the community. Let’s take this opportunity to define our roles for recovery and advocate at all levels of government how IDA members can design, deploy and deliver!