Prior to Covid, the Downtown Alliance launched the Explorer in Chief contest, calling for one-minute video submissions for the ultimate summer dream job. For the Explorer in Chief, this would be a life-changing opportunity to work as a travel ambassador in one of the world’s high-profile tourism destinations. For the Downtown Alliance, it would be a game-changing way to showcase Lower Manhattan as an extraordinary place to visit, work and live.
Whether you are interested in creating new public space using the roadway or activating existing pedestrian areas, street murals are one of the highest impact and lowest cost approaches. Besides beautifying a neighborhood with color, they also celebrate the arts, communicate narratives of change and present a remarkable opportunity for public engagement. Learn more about the what, why, and how from a BID executive, an artist and a tactical urbanism expert.
Great streets are the hallmark of successful cities. In cities that lack underground rail, surface street buses are the lifeblood of downtown mobility, and one or two streets can act as dedicated busways. In addition to carrying people to and through downtown, these transit streets are also important pedestrian corridors. Learn how Denver, Minneapolis, and Seattle are reinventing the way they do transit and manage their transit streets.
They say perception is reality, but often negative perceptions about a place obscure positive changes, inhibiting growth and success. Whether the narrative is about high crime rates or inauthentic tourist traps, changing perceptions can require a multi-prong effort. Using case studies from a variety of locations, panelists will discuss how tools such as audience research, re-branding and press strategy can highlight local assets and reshape the narrative.
|The Pop-Up Winnipeg Public Toilet initiative aims to lead by example through providing an accessible, clean, secure, well-maintained, monitored public washroom facility. The Pop-Up has captured the imagination of people in Winnipeg and beyond, generated enthusiastic media coverage, and stirred conversations recognizing the importance of human dignity and access to public toilets in the downtown.|
|There were three challenges in the renovation of Nicollet Mall: capitalizing on the new space, engaging the community, and executing an activation plan. Now, downtown Minneapolis has a plan to attract inclusive, year-round events, amplify partner efforts, and fill in future programs.|
The Main Street Christmas Light Extravaganza is an event that spans four city blocks in downtown Macon. Over 500,000 Christmas lights adorn the landscape in the medians of Poplar Street and Third Street. Bryan Nichols partnered with NewTown Macon to win grant funding to launch the show and achieve the goal of attracting more people. In 2018, the Main Street Christmas Light Show doubled attendance and attracted over 200,000 people to downtown Macon during the holiday season.
Great Plates of Downtown Fort Collins is an annual regional dining promotion with a local focus. This two-week-long celebration showcases Downtown’s culinary culture and serves as a community fundraiser, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the Food Bank for Larimer County. In 2018, Great Plates raised over $106,000 in two weeks. Overall, the promotion has raised more than $545K: each dollar donated is equivalent to $5.00 worth of food, for a grand total representation of almost $2.7 million dollars.
|Wilmington Downtown Incorporated (WDI) led a herculean effort to prepare for, and then recover from, Hurricane Florence. The process included working closely with Emergency Management personnel, property owners, and others. After executing six months of events in one month, OverFlo raised over $128,000 for six nonprofits providing food, shelter and other services for hurricane victims.|
The Toronto Financial District BIA worked with YSM to create a social media strategy to promote the PATH Clothing Drive and increase donations. It created two videos, both with a clear call to action. The BIA also compiled a list of ‘influencers’ they would reach out to on social media to share the video. In total the project resulted in 821,318 social media impressions, 450,150 video views and 6,500 bags of donated clothing: all record highs for the clothing drive.
Bonayo.org is a unique and time-saving web application that Lower Polk Community Benefit District developed in-house. Bonayo works by taking 311 call data directly from the city and routing it to LPCBD’s workers. Bonayo is currently free to use, and users can choose to get receive live notifications via text and/or email. Each text and/or email shows the location of the service call, the service call type, and a photo when available.
The Downtown San Diego Partnership spearheaded an initiative in partnership with Grizzly Creative, IVC Media and The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation to create and launch a brand for Downtown San Diego. It defined a narrative and visual language for downtown that positioned our urban core positively and attractively by elevating what’s already happening there and demonstrating what a tremendous opportunity we have to create the future.
A Taste of Colorado, a free Denver tradition, continued its 35-year tradition of being the largest free admission food and music festival in Colorado attracting over 500,000 attendees over the three-day weekend. A Taste of Colorado has something for everyone with over 50 food vendors, 175 marketplace vendors, a Kids Zone experience with arts & crafts and a children’s entertainment stage, and the elevated music experience with a main stage featuring over 25 musical acts.
Activate Houston Street is an initiative tasked with the goal of creating a placemaking action plan for the downtown Houston Street corridor, a once-bustling retail and pedestrian thoroughfare negatively impacted by the loss of the savings and loans industry and suburban sprawl. Turning Houston Street into an active destination that encourages people to experience its uniqueness and vibrancy will transition it from a corridor you pass by to one visitors and locals will go to and stay.
Attracting talent to your downtown can be challenging. This presentation outlines innovative strategies for attracting workers and new businesses to your downtown as well as cultivate local talent and entrepreneurial endeavors.
Ms. Shirley Franklin was elected Mayor of the City of Atlanta and served two terms from 2002 to 2009. Franklin’s record of civic involvement spans over three decades, including digital advocacy for underserved communities, the arts, homelessness and higher education. She also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Purpose Built Communities, a national holistic community revitalization organization and President of Clarke-Franklin and Associates, Inc.
Ry Moran is the Director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation located at the University of Manitoba. In addition to working with his team to build the Centre from the ground up, Ry continues to advocate for Survivors, truth and reconciliation with commentary in radio, print and television. Ry is a proud member of the Métis Nation.
Lourdes M. Castro Ramírez is an accomplished executive dedicated to building partnerships, improving lives and communities, and expanding economic, educational and health opportunities. She is currently the President of the University Health System Foundation in San Antonio, Bexar County, and South Texas.
Vanessa German is a visual and performance artist based in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood, whose cast-off relics form the language of her copiously embellished sculptures. She is also the founder of Love Front Porch and the ARThouse, a community arts initiative for the children of her historic Homewood neighborhood.
In many cities and downtowns our newfound success is leading to high housing costs, spiraling labor rates and the rapid gentrification of neighborhoods. Without interventions to promote affordable housing, stabilize neighborhoods, workforce training, public education and other social equity measures, many cities are at risk of losing what makes them authentic, and arguably the DNA for their economic vitality. Downtown organizations have a role in this debate and can help shape local policies.
After the King of Prussia District celebrated their five-year mark, staff knew it would be important to reevaluate the brand of the organization and district moving forward. KOP-BID hired a local marketing and branding agency to help create a new logo, energized tagline, exciting website and playful, but focused, advertising. Through thoughtful analysis and planning, KOP-BID was able to speak directly to a newly defined target audience.
In December 2018, the Downtown Center BID launched DTLA // IRL a multi-faceted pop-up activation showcasing Downtown’s culture, community, and commerce. The project comprised three main elements: a visitor’s center, retail store, and event space, and served as a promotional vehicle for the Downtown retail market and a variety of local businesses, highlighting local art and culture, and engaging the local community of residents, workers, and visitors.
The 4th Annual Delray Beach Fashion Week was a five-day event that showcased the unique mix of Downtown Delray Beach fashion retailers, designers, salons and artists. The goals of this merchant-driven program were to increase awareness and revenue for retailers, enhance the economic vitality of the entire downtown business community, highlight different neighborhoods and raise funds for the Achievement Centers for Children and Families (ACCF).
The site of the Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden (DRPG) was previously a concrete promontory jutting into the wide, busy intersection of Dundas Street and Roncesvalles Avenue. The site was broadly disliked by pedestrians who often dashed, unsafely across the road to get away from blazing heat in the summer or windswept barrens in winter. The Roncesvalles Village Business Improvement Area (RVBIA) was able to fund the DRPG project through strategic partnerships.
A groundswell of entrepreneurial and creative activity is changing Dayton. Over a series of townhall-style meetings and detailed work sessions, the Start Downtown initiative brought together more than 100 enterprising Daytonians to devise new strategies and grassroots projects to foster collaboration and connections between entrepreneurs and provide better support the creative culture rapidly emerging. Start Downtown won an IDA Excellence award at the 2018 IDA Conference.
I Scream! is a Times Square pop-up kiosk that encourages people to speak up about social and political issues while enjoying a frozen treat. The Alliance and Urbanspace partnered with New York-based, Vendy Award-winning ice cream shop Ice & Vice to offer flavors like “Freeze Global Warming”, “The Full Scoop” and “Justice is Sweet.” 5% of total profits are donated directly to a rotating list of local and national nonprofits including Habitat for Humanity, Project HOPE and Harlem Grown.
Meg Daly, Founder of Friends of the Underline, shares her story of turning a crazy idea for a 10 mile greenway project into a reality. She walks through the community engagement process and gives her advice for demonstrating the project’s importance to the community and government partners.
There is an art and science to social media communications and marketing. Amy Blaschka, Founder and Storyteller at AmyBlaschka.com, Jason Gilbert, CEO at Saltwater Software, Ariana Gomez (former) Marketing Director at LA Fashion District BID, and Kerry Inserra, Associate Director at Walnut Creek Downtown Association share the secrets to effective communication on social media.
This session breaks down the most effective strategies for facilitating small-scale improvements to public spaces through tactical urbanism and community engagement. Presented by Tony Garcia at Street Plans Collaborative.
IDA’s Advisory Panels are a time-tested way to explore new ideas, solve difficult problems, and rally the board, staff and community around priority projects or topics. This panel was tasked with weighing the demand for a PBID and assessing the benefits and challenges of implementation. The report details the panel’s findings and recommendations.
This session will review the growing role of residential in downtowns and the importance of integrating residential uses into place management. Panelists will offer tools to accommodate residential needs in healthy and complete communities. Highlights of IDA’s 2016 Top Issues Council on Downtown Residential will set the stage for a discussion about working with residents in place management organizations.
Learn how collaboration by design is transforming urban centers globally. Learn to assess any design project and determine the right type of charrette for your business district! Through case studies, you will learn to activate the unique creative potential of all stakeholders by embedding them in the design process using the National Charrette Institute (NCI) Charrette System approach.
Diversity creates excitement, vibrancy, and economic resilience, and can be the heart of a successful urban center offering a place to combat discrimination and social isolation. BIA’s can play an active role in ensuring commercial districts are inclusive places for all people. This panel provides examples from three BIA’s on how to create welcoming urban centers for all.