Top Issues Councils
The IDA Top Issues Councils are a strategic research initiative that brings together industry leaders to produce research briefs on the top urban issues identified by IDA members. Each council is led by a chair, comprised of place management professionals sharing their expert knowledge, and supported by both IDA staff and the IDA Research Committee. Those selected to serve on a council contribute their expertise to the growing body of knowledge on the place management industry and provide meaningful tools and information to IDA members.
The 2019 Councils explored the following topics and release reports with meaningful tools and case studies for place management organizations.
Housing Attainability Council
- The Housing Attainability Council demonstrates how urban place management organizations of all sizes and resource levels can play a role in encouraging more housing at a variety of price points and of varying styles. The report, Housing Attainability: How UPMOs Can Support A Diversity of Housing in Their Districts, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Municipal Partnerships Council
- The Municipal Partnerships Council examines the fundamental nature of working relationships between UPMOs and governments to identify the best practices for producing the most beneficial and enterprising partnerships. The report, Municipal Partnerships: A Toolkit for Municipal & Urban Place Management Organization Relationships, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Smart Cities, Smart Districts
- How can place management organizations best navigate the complexities of new technologies to more effectively manage their districts and create vibrant environments? Report release date TBA.
This year brought together 45 members serving on the following six Councils to write reports with sharing case studies, resources and solutions.
Economic Development Council
- The Economic Development Council explores the creative financing strategies, economic development tools and incentives that district advocates and place management organizations employ to improve the economic health of a place. The report, How We Do Economic Development: Best Practices and Trends for Place Management Organizations, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Inclusive Places Council
- The Inclusive Places Council explores the role of place management organizations in navigating challenges around social equity and inclusion in rapidly transforming cities. The report, Inclusive Places: Prioritizing Inclusion and Equity in the Urban Place Management Field, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Nighttime Economy Council
- The Nighttime Economy Council explores best practices and strategies for managing a healthy nighttime economy at the district level. The report, Nighttime Economy: A Guidebook for Emerging, Growing and Established Nighttime Districts, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Parking Management Council
- The Parking Management Council explores the role place management organizations play in parking management and providing parking solutions at the district level. The report, Adjusting to the Changing Parking Landscape: How to Best Position Your District for Success, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Place Branding Council
- The Place Branding Council explores the features that make downtowns and urban spaces unique among others – those quirky spaces and interesting places that define an urban experience. Best practices, lessons learned, and surprising tips can assist planners in defining strategies for physical manifestations of their community’s cultures in public spaces in a powerfully authentic way. The report, Place Branding: Best Practices and Strategies to Brand and Market Your District, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Urban Mobility Council
- The Urban Mobility Council explores the role place management organizations play in planning and implementing projects that improve connectivity in city centers including public transportation, bike infrastructure, transportation network companies and autonomous vehicles and how UPMOs can assist with transportation projects at every level – working with the community, government entities and transportation agencies. The report, Urban Mobility: The Role of Urban Place Management Organizations in Prioritizing Connectivity, is available for purchase on our publications page.
In 2017, over 50 IDA members served on six Councils, each authoring a guidebook for sharing trends and recommendations.
Alley Activations Council
- The Alley Activations Council explores a problem that urban place management organizations can creatively and efficiently address – the activation of alleyways and so-called micro-spaces in central urban cores or downtown districts. The report, From Dumpsters to Biergartens: Case Studies in Alley Activations, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Bicycle Improvements and Policy Council
- The Bicycle Improvements and Policy Council explores areas in which urban place management organizations can make significant contributions to improving conditions for bicycling through education, advocacy and incentive programs. The report, A Path Towards Better Bicycle Infrastructure: A Guidebook for Urban Place Management Organizations, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Diverse Retail Mix Council
- The Diverse Retail Mix Council addresses how to help urban place management organizations understand where and how revitalization is happening and how to encourage retail diversity in their work. UPMOs are uniquely suited to champion the diversity of their district’s retail offerings, while both affirming the authenticity of the place and focusing the market demand. The report, Achieving and Maintaining a Diverse Retail Mix: Strategies & Insights for Place Management Organizations, is available for purchase on our publications page.
- The Homeless Council explores comprehensive approaches in addressing the issue of homelessness for urban centers across the world. While the policy approaches are not simple, the council advocates for a declaration of four principles for urban place management organizations to use which inspire engaged and active urban centers. The report, Homelessness in Urban Districts: Principles & Implications for Place Managers, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Safety and Security Council
- The Safety and Security Council explores tools for strategic safety planning for urban place management organizations and their role in emergency response, crime prevention and technology for communication. The report, Downtown Districts at the Table: Planning for Safety and Security, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Urban Parks Council
- The Urban Parks Council explores the definition of a great urban park, how it works, and how it is funded. The Council addresses how current and potential park stakeholders can advance collaboration and capacity building within the management of an urban park to maximize benefits, while equitably and intelligently sharing costs and responsibilities to create dynamic, thriving spaces that are accessible to all. The report, A Practical Guide to Great Urban Parks: How to Benefit from and Finance your Urban Park, is available for purchase on our publications page.
In its inaugural year, 47 IDA members and industry experts collaborated on the following six Councils and produced reports with meaningful tools for IDA members to use in their daily work.
- The Authenticity Council explores elements and practices that contribute to the authenticity of a place, geared towards benefiting the daily work of city builders, planners, place managers and community leaders. The Council aims to help stakeholders understand the fundamentals of their downtown and recognize the characteristics that build authenticity. The report, Maintaining Authenticity of Place, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Commercial Development Council
- The Commercial Development Council provides an overarching view of the evolution of commercial development throughout the past fifty years. The Council explores the role of urban place management organizations in attracting commercial investment and recommends solutions, tools and resources for UPMOs. The report, Attracting Commercial Development: Tools and Case Studies, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Downtown Residential Council
- The Downtown Residential Council explores the importance of residential activity in downtowns and urban districts. The report, Living Downtown: The New Residential Paradigm, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Partnerships for Place Management Council
- The Partnerships for Place Management Council explores how place management organizations utilize public-private partnerships (P3) as a method to advance city-building goals by leveraging the unique expertise and strengths that partners have. The report, Partnerships for Urban Place Management, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Pedestrian Improvements Council
- The Pedestrian Improvements Council explores the pedestrian experience through the lens of education, planning, enforcement and technology. The Council addresses challenges and provides case studies and potential paths to follow to created successful pedestrian facilities. The report, Prioritizing Pedestrian Improvements, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Public Spaces Council
- The Public Spaces Council explores creative placemaking and public space activation as a key ingredient in the recipe for successful revitalization. The report, Activating Public Spaces: A Guidebook for Urban Districts, is available for purchase on our publications page.
Serving on an IDA Top Issues Council provides an opportunity for an engaged leadership role within IDA; to have your work recognized and published; to share expert knowledge; to connect with fellow practitioners; to expand your network; to learn more in depth about a topic relevant to your work; and to contribute to the growing, relevant body of knowledge on the place management industry. IDA Research also accepts your ideas for future Council topics. Contact Cathy Lin, Director of Research at to learn more about the Councils.
To view a comprehensive list of IDA Research publications click here