Stakeholder Engagement

High Performance Digital Marketing for Destination Districts

Trends in marketing come and go, but a robust interactive website continues to act as the foundation for digital content marketing. This presentation covers the results of Geocentric’s 2022 Downtown Digital Survey, a summary look at downtown district websites and how they perform across some key measures of audience, acquisition and behavior.

Taking Action in Public Safety & Community Health Planning

Place management organizations often employ public safety and law enforcement systems as the primary mechanism for response to low-level crimes in their communities. In recent years, calls for defunding and decreasing law enforcement’s response to low level crime has left a service gap for place management organizations. This presentation examines the nuanced role and opportunities BIDs can take on to manage gaps and tackle these issues.

Downtown Download Webinars

From the start of the pandemic our members, residents, and BID properties were clamoring for reliable information they felt they weren’t getting from existing channels. There was confusion about government relief programs, business shutdowns, liability if someone gets sick, and changes to city permits and fees. So we created a free webinar series that directly connects our audience with top government, public health, and business decision makers.

Project Spotlight: Engage Your Community

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. The Longest Table has been successful in engaging underrepresented populations in important civic conversations; providing everyday citizens with tools to be active participants in creating the community they want to have.

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.

Bruce Katz Master Talk

Bruce Katz is the Founding Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Previously he served as inaugural Centennial Scholar at Brookings Institution and as VP and director of Brooking’s Metropolitan Policy Program for 20 years. He is a Visiting Professor in Practice at London School of Economics, and previously served as chief of staff to the secretary of Housing and Urban Development and staff director of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing and Urban Affairs.

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.

A New Future for I-35: Urban Land Institute Panel

The project, undertaken by the Downtown Austin Alliance, builds on the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to reconstruct Interstate 35 through the downtown core. I-35 is an immense highway with a deep, complicated history; a structural barrier that has caused division in our community for decades. Our project aims to enhance TxDOT investment, making the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity by creating a shared community vision that will improve quality of life.

Innovative Approaches to Commercial Tenant Attraction and Engagement

There has been a gradual expansion of a BID’s role to influence the commercial vitality of their communities. BIDs can ill afford to sit on the sidelines and watch market forces shape its area of management and must be active change agents to ensure a desired business mix, optimal occupancy levels, and that the district is a reliable investment opportunity. Learn from three BIDs engaging different techniques and partnerships to actively recruit and attract new commercial businesses.

Engaging the Edges: Working Across District Boundaries

Our experience of a downtown doesn’t follow the clean boundaries of a BID or other district, and yet our charge as place managers is often defined by these hard edges. How can downtowns engage with adjacent neighborhoods to create more successful, thriving districts? Drawing upon lessons from three cities, participants will leave with a toolkit of strategies for anticipating common issues and seizing opportunities for working beyond their boundaries.

Commonwealth Canal Promenade

The Commonwealth Canal Promenade was a key revitalization component to Chandler’s long-term redevelopment plan. The project included clearing oleanders and palm roots, re-establishing the flow line and concrete lining, and constructing a canal promenade. Other improvements included an art fence, railings with historic information panels, a courtyard, landscaping, lighting, drainage and roadway reconstruction. Collaboration with all involved parties ensured the project’s successful completion.

Garment District Rezoning

The Garment District Alliance, which represents Midtown Manhattan, recently played a leading role in a plan that culminated in a New York City Council vote in December 2018 to remove a neighborhood zoning overlay, releasing millions of square feet of space from outdated, use-restricting regulations. The Alliance’s budget will be increased by $2.5 million for ten years to fund programming that improves quality of life and economic vitality for all in the area.

Dupont Circle BID Brand Launch & Implementation

The Dupont Circle BID catalyzed renewal of the area’s public infrastructure through $25 million in streetscape upgrades and an innovative plaza deck over an avenue dividing the retail core. Flowing from Dupont Circle, it will be an exciting, programmable gathering space for the entire city. Its marketing roll-out includes a content-rich website, social media platforms, colorful street light banners, monthly newsletters, transit advertising, a neighborhood guide, and materials for retail brokers.

Homemade In Downtown

Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. (DTSF) and local advertising agency, Fresh Produce, collaborated to create a comprehensive marketing campaign that featured co-op advertising opportunities for DTSF business members. Strong communication between DTSF, Fresh Produce, and members – as well as support from key stakeholders – made it possible to develop creative that pleased the large majority of members, and led to high satisfaction among participating businesses.


CollaborEAT is an annual event of CityBuild Denver, an initiative of the Downtown Denver Partnership. Each year, it transforms an outdoor public space into a dining experience for 250 CityBuilders. The event is designed to educate and inspire, while providing a space for attendees to engage in innovative thinking around the opportunities and challenges facing Denver. There is no other event in Denver like CollaborEAT, which combines tactical urbanism, education, networking and city building.

Neighborhood 360°: Planning for the Future of New York City Commercial Districts

In order to begin the deployment of what is now known as N360°, SBS developed a strategic public-private partnership with LISC NYC and Citi Community Development, aided by technical assistance from Larisa Ortiz Associates, to develop an assessment tool and analytical framework — a “Commercial District Needs Assessment” (CDNA) — that would help SBS to engage community partners in evaluating existing conditions and identifying needs of a commercial district.

San Antonio 2017 Bond Process -Creating Places. Connecting Us.

Centro San Antonio convened a group of volunteers to look at a different approach to the traditional method the city used to identify and select bond projects. The mission of the group, the Catalytic Bond Committee, was to develop recommendations and then champion the compelling and catalytic projects with a potential to both transform downtown and materially impact the entire city.

Hamilton NOSH

A week-long celebration of Hamilton’s culinary scene, NOSH, took place during National Small Business Week from October 17 to 23, 2016. The response by the culinary community was overwhelming, chiefly because of the massive embrace by traditional media and those on social media. NOSH produced more events than anticipated, generated a massive amount of positive exposure for the city, and drove sales to participating businesses.

Inside Downtown Delray Beach Video Series

The Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) launched their “Inside Downtown Delray Beach Video Series” to highlight the unique attributes and authenticity of downtown. The business owners, residents and visitors, also known as the “faces behind the spaces,” were given an opportunity to express what they love most about downtown. Conveying vibrancy, activity friendliness, and walkability in the marketing and PR messaging was crucial to sustaining and growing Downtown Delray Beach.

The 360 Plan

In partnership with the City of Dallas, Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) developed The 360 Plan, a five-year comprehensive and strategic plan for a clear, cohesive vision for downtown’s future. To achieve this vision, Downtown Dallas 360 set forth specific, implementable actions that support Downtown’s long-term vibrancy and success, including transit, streets, public spaces, urban design, housing, and parking.

South End Vision Plan

Among the fastest-growing urban districts in the US, Charlotte’s Historic South End neighborhood has experienced rapid revival and reinvention. With room still to grow, we created a vision plan that will guide billions of dollars in new public and private investment throughout the business improvement district. Following mixed reactions to redevelopment, it became clear that action was needed to ensure that future growth would preserve the South End’s historic charm and its authenticity.

Golden Triangle Neighborhood Plan

The Golden Triangle Neighborhood Plan, unanimously adopted in 2014, outlined a vision, goals, plan framework, and implementation strategies for the eclectic district’s evolution and continued improvement. The Neighborhood Plan set forth a comprehensive, holistic approach, weaving together a nuanced set of strategies that collectively fostered an eclectic, creative, connected, and livable Golden Triangle.

Oswego, New York, DRI Strategic Investment Plan

The small city of Oswego parlayed a $10 million state grant into more than $50 million in new downtown investment. Even after years of decline, Oswego retains some important assets to build on: walkable scale, historic buildings, and a beautiful setting on the Oswego River. The city won state funding to create a plan that identified specific projects, explained how they would benefit downtown, and showed that they could attract other money.

Leeds International Festival (LIF)

Leeds Business Improvement District (LeedsBID) has acted as catalyst and funder for the realization of a vison to create an aspirational, overarching festival to promote the vitality of downtown as a world-class destination. From an initial proposal in September 2016, the inaugural Leeds International Festival (LIF) took place in April 2017; a festival of 35 events over 8 days in front of an audience of 17,000.

London Arts Live

London Arts Live— the first program of its kind in Canada—is a city-wide pop-up art program that places professional artists in urban spaces to reinvigorate local businesses and offer Londoners new opportunities to engage with and experience the arts. With a particular focus on downtown, the program showcases London’s artistic talent across all performative disciplines — including dance, multimedia, music, theatre, and visual arts — artists perform in parks, streets, and buildings.

South Side Pittsburgh Advisory Panel: Mission Update and Solving Community Challenges

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 focused on creating a strategic framework for the South Side Local Development Company, assessing the viability of an improvement district, and providing expert insight on best practices for economic vitality. The report details the panel’s findings and recommendations.

Untapped Allies

We are all about downtowns. Chambers are all about business advocacy and growth. CVBs are all about the tourists and the wallets they bring to our places. Is there crossover between our three entities? Often we have very surface level relationships with our local Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. It’s time for that to change.