As the COVID-19 vaccination rate increases, we are finally seeing more and more activity and vibrancy in our urban cores. What are the actions that UPMOs can take (or continue taking) to ensure that downtowns, city centers, and urban districts can recover more strongly?
Stakeholder and Community Engagement
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.
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.
As our organization was not formed with residents in mind, we had to think strategically about how we could best encourage and engage our growing number of multi-family properties and tenants. We determined that to secure the long-term sustainability of the BID, we must work in partnership with our multi-family owners and inspire them contribute resources and perspective to the BID. We developed BallstonConnect Club, an all-inclusive, membership program now covering over 3,000 residents growing!
|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.|
Through a partnership with the City of Hays, two academic institutions, and Commercial Builders; DHDC was able to design, fund, and build a beautiful structure for their community. The Downtown Hays Pavilion transformed a vacant lot into a place for people to enjoy downtown. Activating this unused space expands an existing park into a versatile public-use facility. The Pavilion serves as the center of downtown, bringing community groups, local businesses, and residents together.
The project was initiated to accelerate mobility improvements to a developing corridor in an Asheville neighborhood. Coxe Avenue formerly contained a high density of automotive uses but is now the site of mixed-use developments and dining options. The project involved a public engagement process, held on a compressed timeline. The design features a shared-use path and an intersection mural. The final installation includes eight new crosswalks, a multi-use path, and the 6,000 sq. ft. mural.
|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.|
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.
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.
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.
Molly Cox is the President and CEO of SA2020, a nonprofit organization that drives progress toward a shared community vision for a thriving San Antonio. In this role, she serves as a facilitator, storyteller, convener, fundraiser, communicator, data analyst, policy wonk, and connector. A Certified Nonprofit Professional, with a master’s degree in political science from UTSA, Molly has also run a University Center, managed her own consulting business, and worked in radio and television.
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.
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.
This “how-to” session explores strategies and tactics that have worked in cities like Reno, NV and San Francisco, CA. Learn how one downtown designed their ambassador services to effectively deal with homelessness, and discover and effective model to communicate and work with multiple city departments and community benefit districts that was developed by one city’s Police Department.
Experience Hastings Crossing (HxBIA) was an inaugural week-long event aimed at both facilitating and showcasing unique partnerships between HxBIA businesses and Downtown Eastside social enterprises and nonprofit organizations. HxBIA invited locals and visitors to learn about these partnerships and support local community organizations through purchasing special features at businesses.
A good day’s work can be the pivotal first step toward stability and shelter for someone struggling with homelessness. That’s why in 2016, the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) and local philanthropic / government organizations partnered to establish Jobs Connect. Jobs Connect is a simple, innovative program that matches homeless and vulnerable people with work and basic support services.
The Golden Triangle BID, adjacent to the White House and in the heart of Washington’s central business district, has a unique understanding of the post 9-11 paradigm and has responded by creating a safety, security, and emergency preparedness program that is rapidly becoming a national model. The foundational strategy of the Golden Triangle’s program is to engage regularly with building management and the community about security and preparedness.
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.
For the past 13 years, Downtown Vision Inc. (DVI) has produced the First Wednesday Art Walk in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville. This innovative event acts as an economic development tool supporting downtown merchants and cultural entities while improving the vitality of downtown through the arts. With more than 10,000 people participating each month, Art Walk has grown into a treasured street festival, one that is constantly reimagined to mirror the diversity of Jacksonville.
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.
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.
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.
Are you maximizing the potential of your downtown’s town/gown relationship? Across North America, downtowns and higher education are forging partnerships by embedding classrooms and campuses in the downtown core, producing an enhanced college experience for students and increased economic vitality for downtowns. This webinar’s presenters share their experiences with their own town/gown relationships.
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.
Teaming Up To Clean Up showcases partnerships with local stakeholders to clean and beautify their cities. Best practices include businesses and communities working together to improve storefronts, and reduce graffiti and litter while focusing on cigarette litter, recycling, and needle waste. Case studies in this presentation show how organizations can achieve best practices in maintaining cleanliness and building vibrancy in urban settings.
Every thriving community requires public safety. Now that your downtown center has become re-vitalized, it’s important to protect the investment within your district. Members of IDA’s Top Issues Council on Safety & Security explore the topics of planning for public safety and capitalizing on available resources to keep your downtown safe.