Best Practice

Creating Confidence for Returning Workers During COVID-19

To ensure workers were comfortable returning to the office in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDBIA worked with our members to develop a Best Practices for Return to the Office report. Advocate for indoor mask mandates, and we created promotional videos about returning to the office and public health measures.

Bellville Zero Waste Schools

The Bellville Zero Waste Schools project is a replicable, scalable waste-reduction project that enables schools to save money on waste disposal and to reduce their waste footprint, towards a zero-waste environment. Landfills in South Africa are close to full capacity. Schools are culprits as much as businesses and individual homes. The Bellville Zero Waste Schools project takes a systems-based approach to providing schools with a sustainable, cost-effective solution.

Lift Up Local

Lift Up Local is comprised of three smaller projects: Expanding sidewalks, a grant program, and a downtown voucher program. This Best Practices dives into the logistics and details of each component.

Bedford Street Piazza

To support struggling restaurants, DSSD worked with a multi-department team from the City to implement StrEATeries within one week of re-opening the state to outdoor dining. The initiative created ~1,000 outdoor dining seats beyond those typically allowed on the city’s sidewalks through two complementary approaches.

Portland Downtown Tree Cam

In lieu of our traditional, “one night only” tree lighting event, Portland Downtown, Hood® Eggnog, and Portland Public Library launched something all new for 2020: a 24/7 live-streaming “tree cam” overlooking an iconic downtown park called Monument Square. The cam created a virtual window so that visitors locally – and across the globe – could enjoy the illuminated tree & its surroundings anytime, anywhere throughout the holiday season.

Crystal City to National Landing BID Rebrand

In 2019, the Crystal City BID expanded its boundaries by 70% and began the process of selecting a new name and brand for the organization. The brand needed to provide a cohesive sense of place that unified the downtown while still highlighting the existing neighborhoods of Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard that the BID now encompassed. The BID began a rebrand effort with the design firm Pentagram, but misconceptions around the new name necessitated extensive community engagement.

Make It Bright on Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue, the world’s most famous street and the centerpiece of New York City’s holiday splendor brightened the Big Apple like never before with Make it Bright, a new campaign that takes two-holiday staples – toys and lights – to a new level.


Downtown Vision designed Halloweek as our first foray into holding safe events and promotions during the pandemic. This multi-pronged holiday celebration allowed us to promote and support Downtown Jacksonville’s small businesses and to create socially distanced, family friendly events for Halloween week 2020. Three key elements composed Halloweek: Decorating Downtown, Driving Traffic to Small Businesses, and Creating a Socially Responsible, Family Friendly Event for the Community.

Hero Meals

Facing one of the first COVID shutdowns in the country, our restaurants were faced with immediate lost revenues, extra food, and a desire to help those fighting on the front lines of the pandemic. The Downtown Tacoma Partnership stepped in creating a site for people to purchase Hero Meals from downtown restaurants we delivered to the front-line workers keeping our community moving.

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.

Curbside Baltimore

This program was created, and scaled up quickly, to support local restaurants and retailers during COVID shutdowns in the spring and fall. It had two components: a universal hashtag #CurbsideBaltimore that we created for businesses to promote their pivot in response to COVID, and; a subsidized gift card program for locally-owned shops, restaurants, and makers within our BID. For each $20 gift card purchased, we added an additional $10, giving the purchaser $30 to spend.

Holiday Movie Food and Drink Week

Downtown Norfolk Council produced the first ever Holiday Movie Food and Drink Week. For this special holiday celebration, Downtown Norfolk chefs got creative and had a lot of fun reimagining iconic food and drinks from everyone’s favorite holiday movies and specials. For one week from December 4-11, Downtown Norfolk restaurants put their own unique spin on recognizable food, drinks, and memorable scenes from holiday classics for a creative and delicious helping of festive nostalgia.

Mall Retrofit Strategy: Unlocking Downtown Moorhead’s Revitalization

From the beginning of the Downtown Moorhead Master Plan process, the number one topic of concern was Center Mall in the heart of downtown Moorhead. With its complicated public-private ownership structure, high number of vacancies, physical connection with City Hall, and yet beloved history, we knew repositioning or redeveloping the Center Mall site would be a focal point of the planning effort.

al Fresco off Main and Downtown Dash

The City of Mesa and the Downtown Mesa Association (DMA), introduced a great way to “extend” patio dining for all of the restaurants in the downtown Mesa District—no matter the restaurant’s outside capacity. al Fresco off Main is a fenced off area with plenty of outdoor, distanced seating where people can bring food they ordered from any downtown Mesa restaurant or their brown bag meal to enjoy their refreshments in the middle of downtown.

2019 Downtown Memphis Parking Study

The 2019 Downtown Memphis Parking Study was commissioned to craft a new approach to parking in Downtown Memphis, shifting policy from simply building more parking to a holistic approach centered on mobility. The great success of the study was it’s intention from ideation to go far beyond parking management, and Memphis’s wherewithal to immediately put the plan into action.

Re-Start Downtown Fresno Grant Program

In the early months of the COVID emergency, Downtown Fresno businesses were facing limited re-opening after nearly 3 months of limited operations due to closed in-person retail, no in-door/ out-door dining, no events or pedestrian traffic, and no office workers. The Re-Start program aimed to assist small businesses by providing grants ranging from $1000 – $2500 that could be utilized to help alleviate some costs and help businesses re-open safely.

COVID-19 Daily Updates

At the very beginning of the pandemic, we saw a significant need in our downtown community for reliable, timely, easily accessible information and resources related to the pandemic. Though we are a member-based organization, we decided that for the good of our broader community, we would offer anyone a daily email that distilled information, data/statistics, resources, and more. This email has been going out to more than 12,000 individuals every single business day for an entire year.

The Care Campaign

The Care Campaign is a collection of 14 murals that popped up in our Downtown Dartmouth business district in fall 2020. We worked with a member business to create a placemaking project that would encourage people to feel embraced and connected, at least in mind and spirit, while circumstances beyond anyone’s control make that physically impossible. We received feedback from people of all walks of life that the Care Campaign murals have brought them feelings of happiness and inspiration.

Downtown Dallas COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Supporting business continuity, building an inclusive city and positioning Downtown Dallas to be an international model for economic recovery and social equity is top of mind for Downtown Dallas, Inc. We work every day to protect the last 25 years of investment in the heart of our city and the diversity of our community, while advancing continued growth. Downtown Dallas, Inc., in close collaboration with its members, established a comprehensive path forward.

Planning for a New Downtown Management Organization

In the late 2000s, the City of Tulsa, being dissatisfied with the management of the downtown improvement district, disbanded the private downtown management organization in place by terminating the long-time improvement district. In 2018, a new mayoral administration evaluated the existing downtown management structure and determined that a public-private partnership model should be explored. DCC staff developed a planning scope and timeline to convene stakeholders and partners for the process.

Great DSM Hot Air Balloon Hunt

Greater Des Moines (DSM) residents were encouraged to search for fun surprises in the Downtown DSM throughout two winter weekend evenings on Friday, Jan. 22 and Friday, March 5. Glowing hot air balloons were being stationed in different locations throughout Downtown for an hour-and-a-half each night. Residents were invited to follow The Partnership’s social media channels so that they were first to know about the balloon locations.

Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) Recovery Compass

The DTLA Recovery Compass was a multi-wave tracking study, surveying downtown stakeholders on a range of issues, trends, and sentiments about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on Downtown Los Angeles. A total of eight survey waves, each with 200-300 responses, were collected throughout 2020. The survey was promoted via the DCBID email distribution list and paid, targeted advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

Shattuck East Renaming Project – Kala Bagai Way

The intent of the engagement process was to create a dynamic, transparent, unique, accessible and low-cost process to receive submissions from the community. Renaming a street is no small feat, especially in a City with a politically active population and a City that has a world renowned University with stellar faculty, graduates and staff.

Double Helping Hands

The Double Helping Hands program was implemented in seven days during the COVID crisis, “Helping Our Local Restaurants AND the Homeless Community”. The program managed by the Downtown Berkeley Association, procures to-go lunches from Downtown Berkeley restaurants to feed the homeless. Approximately 100-150 lunches are ordered per day on a rotating basis from fifteen different Downtown restaurants. Downtown Ambassadors deliver the boxed to-go lunches to local homeless shelter.

Delightful Doorways Mural Program

The Delightful Doorways Mural Project (DDMP) is a public art placemaking program in Downtown Berkeley whose mission is to transform dark and unsafe street level fire exits and industrial doorways located throughout the district into unique colorful works of art by local artists.

Leading Through Uncertainty: The First 100 Days

During the first 100 days of the pandemic, uncertainty and fear loomed large. Our community invested decades of hard work and millions of dollars to revitalize our area. That generated momentum became a palpable force of its own, but the pandemic threatened to bring it to a halt. Leading through Uncertainty: The First 100 Days was Downtown Arlington’s immediate, four-pronged response to the new needs of our district.

South End Small Business Saturdays

South End Small Business Saturdays is an annual program focused on supporting local retail and the holiday season. In 2020, we pivoted from an extensive one-day program aligned with the national Small Business Saturday, to a five-week program focused on supporting local retail, from Thanksgiving to Dec 31. We held 4 Saturday pop-up markets and ran a 5-week promotional program called Shop Small Heroes to encourage and reward shoppers for spending local.

Centro San Antonio Snow Flurries

Following months of uncertainty, lockdowns, restrictions, cancellations, and closures. Painful reminders of the pandemic cycles and community pain were reinforced by the barrage of boarded up businesses, graffiti, vacated street level retail, and a complete and utter absence of users. Through the tactical deployment of an unexpected snow machine, we were able to address the community and stakeholders needs while inspiring a broader agenda for change in emotional perception of Downtown.

Agility in the Face of Uncertainty

When the SA Government implemented one of the harshest lockdown responses to Covid-19 in the world, fear and confusion prevailed. The CCID, which operates in downtown Cape Town, sprang into action, agilely changing the operational strategy of 3 departments to meet the needs of a deserted downtown

Small Business Disaster Relief Forgivable Loan Program

Recognizing the significant economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our local businesses, the BBCRA Board approved the creation of the Small Business Disaster Relief Forgivable Loan Program (SBDRLP) and the allocation of $1 million in program funding. Using these funds, the BBCRA provided eligible businesses a forgivable loan of up to $10,000 to offset costs associated with utility, payroll or inventory expenses.

Downtown Boca COVID-19 Marketing Initiatives

The CRA quickly realized COVID-19 would greatly impact the community. Its mission and activities needed to pivot immediately. The CRA’s new objective was two-fold. First and foremost was keeping the community informed on ever-changing safety protocols, and City of Boca Raton (City) emergency notices. Second, the CRA needed to support the downtown business community, which was facing a catastrophic situation.


No parent wants to tell their child “no” to a birthday party, but in Memphis, a city where nearly a quarter of families live below the poverty line, parents may not have the resources to throw that dream birthday party. Watching families host small parties in our parks, we saw an opportunity to condense resources and throw the BIG BIRTHDAY BASH! Set on Mud Island River Park the event featured bounce houses, water slides, games, cake and more all for free and close to 2,000 people attended.

Ballard Alliance Clean Streets Program

The Ballard Alliance partnered with Millionair Club Charity (MCC) to provide twice weekly cleaning services and the annual fall leaf cleaning. The MCC is a nonprofit that employs homeless individuals and provides them with work, job training, and wrap-around services that help remove barriers so they can support themselves. The Alliance selected the MCC as its partner because they are qualified to do the work and because it has a direct positive impact on the homelessness crisis in Seattle.

San Antonio Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Celebrations

Historically San Antonio has been home to numerous Día de los Muertos celebrations that would be hosted in parallel. Seeing an opportunity for collaboration, community leaders gathered the independent hosts to put together a united Día de los Muertos event that would make San Antonio a top destination for a Día de los Muertos experience. Partnerships with Visit San Antonio as well as community corporate sponsorships support allowed for a heavy marketing strategy to areas outside of San Antonio.

The Power of Partnerships in Challenging Times

The collaboration between two CCID departments, Social Development & Urban Management and Khulisa Social Solutions (KSS), a main NGO partner in the city centre which provides work-based opportunities for street people featuring stipends, social services, training, and administrative support. CCID connected known homeless individuals on Long Street, an iconic corridor in Cape Town, with KSS to curtail social problems wheelie bin scavenging or aggressive panhandling.

Central Bark Dog Park

The South Main neighborhood is a growing residential neighborhood and is considered a primary arts/entertainment and dining district in Downtown. To remediate an area of vacancy/blight in this neighborhood, the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) developed a plan to convert an underutilized lot into a vibrant and active neighborhood amenity. Our intervention willed this space into a better outcome.

The State of Cape Town Central City Report 2018: A Year in Review

The Report is intended to provide an accurate and comprehensive overview of the downtown economy, to encourage local, national and global investment in downtown Cape Town. The Report’s unique approach is that it not only gives a detailed breakdown (in numbers) of the main economies of the Cape Town Central Business District (CBD), as it is a year in review, it also identifies key themes that emerged and how the city and Big Business responded to them.

From Pilot to Pandemic: The [Fortuitous] Benefits of Understanding Your District’s Curb Usage

Downtown Santa Monica undertook a project to map our curb network to help us better understand the status quo and search for opportunities to adapt curb use for current needs in COVID. The resulting intelligence has been used to directly inform policy recommendations and facilitate conversations with stakeholders, beginning with a pilot to convert restaurant-adjacent metered parking into short-term loading zones during peak hours.

Charlotte SHOUT!

With more than 175 art, music, food and ideas events offered over 13 days, Charlotte SHOUT! delivered something new and fresh to the city’s residents and visitors. A diverse mix of local artists, musicians, chefs and thought leaders joined renowned international talent to make the festival an unforgettable experience. The event also included unique cultural experiences like a live Indian wedding ceremony, interactive artwork, and community discussion.

Downtown Tempe’s Micro-Influencer Program

People assume that to be influential on social media you must have thousands and thousands of followers. However, marketers have discovered that the true effectiveness of influencer marketing comes from engagement. In 2017, the Downtown Tempe Authority alongside Bright Brothers Strategy Group, launched a micro-influencer pilot program in an effort to increase authentic engagement and ramp up BID marketing efforts across the board.