Social Issues

Equitable by Design – Creating a Downtown for Everyone

Downtowns are uniquely positioned to lead the charge on diversity, equity and inclusion. More times than not, those involved in the development of downtowns and commercial districts don’t always reflect the full diversity of the broader community. Learn what three different UPMOs decided to do about it. 

Shelonda Stokes Master Talk

Shelonda Stokes serves as the President and CEO of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and the President of Downtown Management Authority. Shelonda, a results-oriented, mission-driven executive, leads these two non-profit organizations with the goal of establishing equitable change and vibrancy in Baltimore City’s Central Business District.

Stephanie Allen Master Talk

Stephanie Allen, BBA, M.Urb is a real estate development specialist focused on building affordable, equitable communities. Stephanie’s Masters research focused on the settlement and displacement of Black communities in Canada with a focus on Vancouver, documenting the work done in Vancouver to seek redress for the displacement of Hogan’s Alley.

Ginger Gosnell-Myers Master Talk

Ginger Gosnell-Myers, from the Nisga’a and Kwakwak’awakw Nations, is passionate about advancing Indigenous rights and knowledge through public policy, engagement processes, and urban planning.

Building Downtown: DEI Toolkit for Commercial Development

Diversity doesn’t happen by accident. The Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) believes that a downtown for everyone must be created by everyone. The DMC established an innovative set of policies and programs designed to proactively invite women and people of color into the process tackling commercial development projects. The DMC’s incentive toolkit was revised and expanded in an organized effort to ensure that the people engaged in this work reflect the full diversity of the community.

Lessons from an Emergency: Crisis Ops for Social Issues

In December 2021, San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a 90-day state of emergency for the overdose crisis in downtown. Together with place management organizations, city departments commanded by the Department of Emergency Management developed a disaster relief framework for long-term operations to address the most intractable issues at the intersection of crime, homelessness, mental health and substance use disorder.

The Policy Realm of Homelessness

The number of individuals experiencing homelessness continues to increase. Legislation to address this issue is also growing, especially with the funding received through the American Rescue Plan Act. Hear from practitioners on how they are navigating and influencing policy with elected officials in their local cities and states.

Advancing Places: Conversation on Homelessness

Homelessness is, at its core, a human challenge, and as urban place managers we can act as conveners to collaborate and coordinate with service providers, public agencies and local organizations to ensure empathetic and successful programs. Join two panelists as they discuss their passion for addressing homelessness in their local district and how they approached the difficulties and successes when working to balance their unique situation.

Project Spotlight: Caring for Your Community

The Downtown Day Services Center offers services to individuals experiencing homelessness by utilizing a housing-first model and is operated by the DowntownDC BID. In South Africa, approximately 45 million people rely on the public health system most of whom are low-income earners who cannot afford to pay high prices for health care. Responding to this need, the Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP) collaborated with the Cipla Foundation to launch a new community-based healthcare.

Downtown Philanthropy: Exploring and Leveraging a Charitable Arm for Your Organization

Hear from place management leaders about what it means and what it takes to add a charitable 501(c)(3) foundation, trust or similar entity to your organization’s structure. Learn how a charitable organization can be leveraged as a new, innovative enterprise for your downtown to support its projects and initiatives, and become an added source of support during challenging times.

Be the Change You Want to See: BIPOC Matters to Main Streets & Downtowns

Recent actions in both Canada and the U.S. have brought systemic racism to the forefront, and our business associations have an important role to play in addressing racism and discrimination. Panelists of this session will shed light on the issues and provide inspiration and motivation for us to initiate measures within our own organization and business communities.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Placemaking: Reimagining How Business Improvement Districts Use Their Power

Diversity, equity, and inclusion have become an even more important and timely issue in 2020 for many cities and organizations. We have an obligation to look inwardly at ourselves, our organizations and at our peers who, knowingly or in ignorance, perpetuate systemic racism and inequality. During this time of necessary and overdue reflection, we will discuss how BIDs and other place management organization can reimagine the way they use their power.

Strategies to Advance Equity and Racial Justice in the Place Management Industry

Join IDA’s Inclusive Places Council (IPC) to explore specific actions place management organizations can take to advance equitable development and racial justice within the industry and in the cities where we work. Hear from a panel of experts and practitioners about the work they’ve done and the challenges they’ve faced around equity and inclusion in the place management field.

Lateefah Simon Master Talk

Lateefah Simon is a 20-year veteran organizer for racial justice in Oakland and the Bay Area. She has been the President of the Akonadi Foundation since 2016. That same year—driven by the death of Oscar Grant—she ran and was elected to the Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors—of which she now serves as President.

Main Street Grand Forks: The Longest Table

For the past two years, beginning in 2018, the Longest Table has welcomed local Grand Forks, North Dakota residents to sit down for a free meal in a welcoming environment with people they may not have known, to foster stronger connections, exchange stories, discuss community challenges, and spur civic innovation. Through conversations with strangers around the table, attendees are encouraged to listen attentively, share openly, consider thoughtfully, and dream big.

Downtown Day Services Center

The Downtown Day Services Center offers services to individuals experiencing homelessness. The Center, operated by DowntownDC, utilizes a housing-first model and is supported by District of Columbia Department of Human Services and services from Pathways to Housing DC and HIPS. The Center offers on-site support for individuals experiencing homelessness by providing a multitude of services within a single point of access.

Sha’p Left Community Primary Health Care Hub

A containerized community clinic providing accessible, affordable primary health care to commuters in a busy, inner-city downtown area. In South Africa, only 17 in 100 people have access to quality private health care. This leaves around 45 million people relying on the public health system. Most of this group are low-income earners, living in high-density growing urban areas, who cannot afford to pay high prices for health care.

P.U.M.A.’s Global Trends Report: Pandemic July 2020 Update

In late 2019, P.U.M.A. and IDA jointly released the 2020 Global Trends Report highlighting opportunities arising from converging shifts in demographics, lifestyles and a new category, “disruptive forces,” that are shaping our cities. Little did we know that months later we’d be in the midst of the disruptive events of our lifetimes – the pandemic that has wreaked havoc on public health and economies, and the American protests for racial justice that could accelerate dramatic social change.

Growth Without Gridlock: Making the Case For Mobility Investments

Downtowns are transforming into more people-centered places by actively prioritizing transit, biking, and walking: the key to moving more people in the same street space. Not only does this require a different approach to planning and street design, but also requires a paradigm shift in thinking. In previously auto-centric cities, changing the status quo takes significant political will and intentional effort. In this session, hear cities’ strategies for making the case for sustainable mobility.

New Development Meets a Neglected Neighborhood

Congress Heights Community Training and Development Corporation developed a framework for investing in a place-based inclusive economic and social development strategy centered around Congress Heights. It was built on extensive community engagement with a broad variety of stakeholders, from large developers to local youth, to city economic development officials, to local civic association members and more.

Inclusive Place-Based Economic Development

In 2015, Charlotte’s downtown association, Charlotte Center City Partners, was invited by neighborhood advocates to catalyze a multi-year partnership effort to transform the Historic West End of Charlotte corridor. However, in West End, long-tenured residents and businesses threatened by rising property values feel this pressure acutely as they face predatory investors and find very limited affordable housing options for those who wish to move but stay in the neighborhood.

Assessing Inclusion in Downtown District Toolkit

Making your district a more inclusive place begins with opening the conversation up to the community and building a team of advocates who care about this work. These assessment tools provide a place for you to start and a way to measure progress regularly as you embark on this work. A thorough assessment of weaknesses and opportunities to enhance inclusion should consider three levels of inclusion: Personal, Organizational and Municipal.

What’s Our Real Role With Homelessness

Work with representatives from Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions to strategize what is truly a BID’s role in homelessness?

Preserving Culture and Community in Changing Urban Places

Gentrification and displacement of residents and businesses is a key issue facing communities as they grow and change, particularly for immigrants, refugees and communities of color. Learn from policymakers with urban district experience how place managers can partner to help preserve the essence of place, culture, and community – utilizing strategies like workforce investment, community wealth building, equitable development, business estate planning, nonprofit capacity building and more

New ‘Outside the Box’ Approaches to Homeless Services

Often, place managers approach homelessness as a nuisance to be abated through things like “hostile architecture,” but often find this counterproductive. Some districts are exploring new approaches to serve people experiencing homelessness with programs like pop-up public toilets and social media videos to reunite families, to more expansive social worker interventions and eviction prevention strategies. This session presents ideas and spark discussion on compassionate and inclusive approaches.

Global Trends 2020: What’s Next for Downtown

P.U.M.A.’s award-winning Global Trends Report has been a go-to resource for downtowns for more than a decade. This debut of the 2020 edition will provide insight on what’s next for downtowns given shifts in demographics, lifestyles and competition. The panel will also provide provocative recommendations on how downtown managers can adapt to and get ahead of trends shaping our cities.

Diversity and Inclusion Roundtable

Inclusive city building is a core value we all share and yet the path forward is not completely clear. Whether we are thinking in terms of our districts or of the place management profession, the strategies and tools for reaching our own expectations for diversity and equity are unwritten. The conversation begins in Baltimore and you are invited to participate in a round table discussion exploring ways to best move ahead and take a leadership role so everyone can see a place where they belong.

The Lower Polk Tenant Landlord Clinic

The Lower Polk Tenant Landlord Clinic is an innovative homelessness prevention program serving the historic Lower Polk district of San Francisco, CA. The clinic’s primary mission is to help vulnerable residents save their homes by avoiding eviction. Known affectionately as “TLC,” the program brings together a coalition of experts in myriad disciplines to address the diverse needs of the target at-risk populations. In its first year of operation, TLC helped 87 people save their homes.

Family Reunification Program

As part of its efforts to address homelessness, Downton San Diego Partnership has implemented the Family Reunification Program, a program designed to reconnect homeless individuals with their families and loved ones across the country, enabling them to build much-needed support systems that are critical to ending the cycle of homelessness.

Albus Brooks Master Talk

Albus Brooks is the Vice President of Business Development and Strategy for Milender White, a development and construction firm operating in Southern California and Colorado. Serving two terms on Denver City Council, including two terms as Council President, Albus accomplished an ambitious range of progressive legislative victories with the goal of building a truly inclusive city.

Andrea Batista Schlesinger Master Talk

Andrea Batista Schlesinger leads the Inclusive Cities practice at HR&A Advisors. As a former leader in government, think tanks, philanthropy, and politics, Andrea uniquely understands the capacity and role of government, advocacy, and philanthropy in making cities just and dynamic places. Her current work focuses on supporting equitable economic development and removing barriers to opportunity for all communities in cities.

Susan Mernit Master Talk

Susan Mernit is a serial tech and media entrepreneur, a Tech Stars alumni and a former consultant to the Knight Foundation. She is the founder of Oakland Local, an early—and still active—hyperlocal non-profit news site with a focus on diverse community voices. Hack the Hood, a tech inclusion non-profit she co-founded, was a 2014 winner of the Google Bay Area Impact Challenge. Hack the Hood, Oakland-based non-profit, opens up the opportunity pipeline in tech for low-income young people of color.

Tyler Norris Master Talk

Tyler Norris, MDiv, is an entrepreneur and founder of over a dozen businesses and social ventures. His three decades of service in the public, private and non-profit sectors have focused on population health, community vitality, and equitable prosperity. Currently, he serves as vice president, Total Health Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente, where he helps lead the implementation of “anchor institution” work.

Christopher Beynon Master Talk

Christopher Beynon, AICP is an international leader in the transformation of our urban environments. A principal at the Berkeley-based design firm MIG, he has led planning, urban design and economic development projects that have resulted in real change for cities throughout North America, including Denver, Boston, Anchorage, Winnipeg, Charlotte, Spokane, Dallas and Calgary.

Gabe Metcalf Master Talk

Gabriel Metcalf is the President & CEO of SPUR. Under his leadership, SPUR has grown dramatically in influence and membership. Before becoming head of SPUR 2005, Gabe headed up SPUR’s policy and advocacy work for five years. A prolific writer and speaker, Gabriel earned his Master’s degree in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design.

Derreck Kayongo Master Talk

Derreck Kayongo and his family fled a civil war in Uganda and settled in the U.S. when he was just ten years old. Today, he is a successful entrepreneur and human rights innovator. Though most well known as a 2011 CNN Hero and founder of the Global Soap Project, Kayongo is an expert in environmental sustainability and global health. He is also the former CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia.