Talent Attraction, Recruitment, and Retention

DSM Workforce Trends & Occupancy Study

In early 2022, Downtown DSM, Inc. and the Greater Des Moines Partnership commissioned a first-of-its-kind, hyperlocal study of knowledge workers in Greater Des Moines (DSM). The DSM Workforce Trends & Occupancy Study (WTOS) provided regional employers with insight into the workplace and work preference styles of knowledge workers.

Grow Downtown

Grow Downtown is an initiative of the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance that connects landlords and tenants to offer short-term lease opportunities to small businesses, adding vibrancy to the central business district of downtown Saint Paul and its skyway system. Selected tenants occupy vacant storefronts with the potential for long-term occupancy.

Design Downtowns & Nightlife for Women – Men Will Follow

Women are the primary decision makers and influencers about where to shop, live, work and play. Yet downtowns are often designed by men. Safety, cleanliness, lighting, restrooms and mobility options influence where women choose to go out. Women seek out a variety of social experiences and leisure pursuits; not just F&B, but also traditional shopping. Yet many downtowns fall short of women’s expectations. Find out how to design women-friendly downtowns. 

Supporting Vital Downtown Areas at a Statewide Level

Visit California and the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development show important efforts to support all regions of California. These programs are meant to support community sustainability, economic diversification, and drive engagement of local partners in tourism and economic development activities.  

Top Issues Council Brief: Inclusive Entrepreneurship

This report explores successful methods UPMOs have used to support inclusive entrepreneurship by improving capital readiness, easing access to commercial spaces, and developing programs for business retention and sustainability.

Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street

Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street is a pop-up retail store program in downtown Raleigh to provide affordable and attractive short term retail space for minority and women-owned businesses to improve diversity in storefront ownership in downtown and Raleigh.

Colleges and Universities – Powering Cities and National Economy

Colleges and universities are America’s economic engines in towns, cities and metropolitan areas. Typically, large employers, ed’s and med’s are the economic backbone, creating jobs, supporting business, bolstering tourism and innovation districts and collectively fueling the economy. These institutions and host communities need each other to be successful. How do they work with diverse but conflicting stakeholders to maintain mutually beneficial partnerships?

Advancing Places: Retail Is Changing. Are You?

Brick and mortar retail, especially during the pandemic, is changing drastically but our downtown recruitment efforts aren’t keeping up. Moving forward, shared spaces, studio/retail mixes, pop-up retail, a diversity of business owners – and an understanding that retail must be different to disaster-proof our districts – will be key to keeping retail and businesses alive in our downtowns.

Jennifer Vey Master Talk

Jennifer Vey’s work at the Brookings Institution primarily focuses on the connection between placemaking and inclusive economic development in the digital economy. She is the author or co-author of numerous Brookings publications, including Transformative Placemaking: A framework to create connected, vibrant, and inclusive communities and Assessing your Innovation District: A how-to guide.


LiveNFK is a combination of professional development seminars and social events that showcase Norfolk’s vibrant culture. Each of the activities is designed to help make a compelling case as to why Norfolk and the region is a fantastic place to live, work and stay.

Supporting the Growth of Technology Companies

The DC government has made the growth and attraction of technology companies a top economic development priority. To encourage existing companies to grow and stay in the District, and to attract new companies, the City developed the Qualified High Technology Companies (QHTC) incentive program.

Developing a Retail Strategy

All downtowns are dealing with the changing world of retail and developing strategies for retention and attraction. Learn from Cherry Creek North, Downtown Memphis and Downtown OKC, three very distinct downtowns, as they discuss their respective approaches for filling vacant spaces and retaining and attracting retailers.   

Looking for the Missing Middle

This session is devoted to one of our most challenging economic development topics—how to build middle-market housing in your downtown/urban community. Throughout the US, cities are struggling with this missing middle challenge. Without a solution, cities are left with high end luxury and low-end affordable housing. This panel brought together a developer, a public agency, and local planning expert to discuss middle income housing from three very different perspectives.

Driving Retail Growth with Holiday Pop Up Shops

With over 50,000 square feet of retail space available in a six-block radius, the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs, CO stepped in to attract new temporary, pop-up businesses during the holiday season as a means not only filling vacancies, but attracting customers to help preserve the retailers that still remained.

Responding to Retail Disruption

We hear about it every day. We are living in a period of “Retail Disruption” and its impact on our downtowns is being felt in ways big and small. This session will cover a wide variety of ways in which businesses are finding creative ways to survive and thrive considering changing shopper preferences and the growth in on-line shopping. We will hear from both downtown practitioners and retail experts who will share their research and hard lessons learned during implementation, including on-line/omni-channel shopping platforms and the creation of local makerspaces aimed at both supporting entrepreneurs and offering shopping “experiences” that rival what can be found on-line.

Developing a Retail Strategy

All downtowns are dealing with the changing world of retail and developing strategies for retention and attraction. Learn from Cherry Creek North, Downtown Memphis and Downtown OKC, three very distinct downtowns, as they discuss their respective approaches for filling vacant spaces and retaining and attracting retailers.   

CC2DCA Pedestrian Connection Feasibility Study

The Crystal City BID saw an opportunity to further leverage the DCA airport’s proximity to their downtown by bringing it a few steps closer. A new pedestrian connection could harness the multitude of transportation assets in Crystal City, seamlessly link them into a multimodal hub, and position the neighborhood to attract additional rail services such as Amtrak, regional commuter rail, and even a future high-speed rail station.

Selden Market

Selden Market is the latest initiative in Downtown Norfolk Council’s Vibrant Spaces program. Located in the historic Selden Arcade that sits between Main and Plume Streets in downtown, Selden Market serves as Downtown Norfolk’s first retail incubator to help new and emerging businesses get established by providing six-month leases with significantly reduced rents.

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.

Art of the State: Leveraging Local Culture and Creativity

This session will present a snapshot of case studies that engage makers, artists and other creatives in downtown promotions, placemaking and development projects. Great Downtowns of all sizes are identified by their cultural environment. We will explore how both large and small investments in arts and creativity can return dividends that multiply.

Downtown Cleveland Alliance 3-tiered Marketing Campaign

Downtown Cleveland Alliance accomplished the goal of creating economic impact for their community through a strategic and innovative three-tiered marketing campaign involving the development of print and digital advertising, the production of an annual video, and the creation of native advertising content.

Lower Manhattan HQ (LMHQ)

A new type of workspace was needed as a generation of employees entering the workforce expected their employers to provide them with amenities to enhance their workplace. The Alliance for Downtown New York embraced the spirit of innovation to address downtown management challenges by opening Lower Manhattan HQ (LMHQ). LMHQ is a state-of-the-art, 12,500 sf hybrid-facility designed to provide an affordable resource for burgeoning sectors to help foster new opportunities and support new business.

Top Issues Council: How We Do Economic Development

Downtowns, as areas of rapid growth, have become key tools in the economic development arsenal. They have created the places where entrepreneurs and businesses want to work. This document chronicles and reports on the intersection of downtown management and economic development. Today, economic development has become a staple program of downtown organizations, and the variety of approaches to downtown economic development is immense, reflecting differences in downtowns and their communities.

Incubators – A Shot in the Arm for Your District

Leverage local talent and demand for coworking space to create a powerful entrepreneurial environment in your backyard! This presentation shares a number of initiatives for assisting startups and aspiring business owners.

Wheaton Central Business District Advisory Panel: How to Leverage County Assets in Downtown

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 weighed in on how to best use county land assets and strategically locate and leverage valuable amenities in downtown to spur growth. The report details the panel’s findings and recommendations.

Innovation Districts 2.0: Lessons Learned from Early Adopters and Future Action

Dozens of cities have designated specific neighborhoods as “innovation districts.” These districts have three essential components: anchor institutions, entrepreneurs and amenities. While some pieces of a district may emerge organically, activating a district to benefit the entire city requires purposeful action and leadership.

How We Do Economic Development: Best Practices and Trends from IDA’s Ecnonomic Development Top Issue Council

IDA’s Economic Development Top Issues Council has been working throughout 2018 to compile research on how downtown organizations engage and practice economic development. See how your downtown stacks up. Learn about cutting edge programs and policies that downtown organizations are using to advance their economic development agendas. Find out about the top trends and issues facing downtowns in the area of economic development.

Cultivating Entrepreneurship

As urban district professionals, we are all trying to create the foundations for growing new businesses, filling vacant spaces, and creating new jobs and vibrancy. Our expert panel will discuss how different cities and institutions are driving innovation, launching and running successful incubator spaces, and working with private and public partners to cultivate the right environment for new businesses to develop, grow and thrive.