Welcome Back Downtown: Wayfinding & Gateway Enhancements

Downtown Milwaukee needed to update their outdated wayfinding for Summer 2020 events and to orient visitors in 2021 as COVID-19 travel restrictions lifted. While the timelines and budgets for these signage initiatives were very different, the end results have welcomed new visitors by improving these downtown environments. Our session will discuss the process and lessons learned during these gateway and wayfinding signage projects.

Effective Service Delivery Across Jurisdictions: The Art of Inter-Governmental Agreements

There are many layers of government involved in Downtown and BID management. The more layers, the more complicated it is to deliver efficient and effective public services to your stakeholders. With this challenge comes great opportunity to develop inter-governmental relationships, agreements to facilitate the delivery of services within districts and expansion of services through enhanced cooperation.

Retail is Changing Are You? Models to “Disaster-Proof” Our Districts

Brick and mortar retail, especially with 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 keep retail and businesses alive in our downtowns.

A New Director’s Guide to Thrive Your First One to Three Years

So, you’ve landed the position of President/CEO or Executive Director, now what? Join this session and learn from two professionals who have transitioned into leadership roles of urban place management organizations. Learn how to navigate your first year and set reasonable expectations for success for years to come.

The Policy Realm of Homelessness

The number of individuals experiencing homelessness continues to increase. Legislation to address this issue is also growing, especially with the funding received through the American Rescue Plan Act. Hear from practitioners on how they are navigating and influencing policy with elected officials in their local cities and states.

Breaking Barriers: Innovative Approaches to Greening

Greening is a challenge for many cities. UPMOs can propel greening efforts forward through capital expenditures, public-private partnerships and property owner engagement. This session will explore innovative approaches to installing green infrastructure in downtown right-of-ways, when traditional options have been exhausted. Solutions include leveraging public-private partnership, reimaging the public realm and doing a complete and total overhaul.

We Aren’t Placemaking, We Are People Making

We have an opportunity to use experience, a pandemic and data to inform how we cultivate our greatest assets, our people. Before we can “reopen” our districts (as if they were ever closed), we must address the anxieties, fears, languishing, burnout and uncertainties of the past year. If we don’t, then we are asking people to walk out of a burning building, shake it off and build a new building. We can do better.

Reimagining Outdoor Dining and Public Space

Discover how a downtown pedlet program in Montana and streeteries in Maryland promoted local placemaking efforts, created public spaces, and spurred an outside dining movement that increased business revenue, supported local business, and created jobs. Attendees will gain the knowledge of how to establish these programs in their communities, learn of the wider economic impact in a downtown commercial district and how these can be viable tools in the post-pandemic recovery process.

Providing Value to Stakeholders through Curated Experiences

Dive into what makes a memorable experience and ways to drive value for local businesses through a curated passport platform. From identifying your assets to thinking about all aspects of your downtown experience, level up your programming with these unique tips. Learn how Tampa has driven measurable spending and supported local economic growth through their downtown passport program.

Strategic Planning During (and After) COVID

This session will dive into strategic planning and what it looks like coming out of the pandemic. Panelists will reflect on their experiences leading strategic planning processes during this once-in-a-generation disruption. We’ll also look forward to what’s already changed, what hasn’t and what needs to change when it comes to strategic planning for organizations.

The Transformational Power of Public Art

Marc Chagall said, “Great art picks up where nature ends.” Public art in cities transforms public spaces, connects people and revitalizes communities. Hear from three cities utilizing the power of public art in ambitious ways, inspiring long-term positive change. Any community on any budget can benefit from the strategic targeted implementation of public art.

Planning for Retail Vitality in the Face of Changing Market Dynamics

Downtowns are struggling to address the retail challenges and trends accelerated by the pandemic, including changes in shopping habits and fewer downtown workers. Hear how two BIDs approached finding solutions that acknowledge hard truths and identify opportunities for action while working with stakeholders to resolve long standing policies and regulatory issues that stand in the way of downtown recovery.

Public Art Murals Achieved by Public & Private Partnerships

The session will focus on public art murals in our downtowns with an emphasis on public and private partnerships to help finance the murals. Included will be simple instructions on how BIDs can manage the process for mural installation with an emphasis on regional artists to complete the murals and gaining access to funding and the walls in your community.

So You Want to Be More Diverse? Diversifying the Place Management Industry from the Inside Out

Equity, diversity and inclusion are popular buzzwords, but how are organizations really implementing these initiatives? This roundtable discussion is about diversifying the place management industry from the inside out. We want to uncover the personal experiences of minorities and highlight organizational challenges and successes around increasing staff and board diversity as well as efforts to support minorities.

2021 Pinnacle Award Winner Highlights

Learn the behind-the-scenes of how these Downtown Achievement Pinnacle award winners worked through the pandemic to produce award-winning projects.

Understanding U.S. Consumer Behavior

COVID has become the single biggest shock to downtowns and retail destinations since WWII, and the changes in consumer behavior it has wrought could influence downtown performance for decades to come. But will it? Springboard is delivering insights on changes in consumer behavior across the U.S. as we emerge from the pandemic, using data derived from a monthly consumer survey combined with the Springboard Downtown Index.

IDA Leadership in Place Management Certification Program Launch

After years of work to codify our profession, IDA’s Professional Development Committee, and newly created Leadership in Place Management (LPM) Commission, has launched the premier certification program for urban place management professionals. Join this session and learn more about the program and why it’s important to the urban place management profession and industry.

The Gloves Are Coming Off: We Have To Fight for What We Need

The future of downtowns, urban centers and commercial neighbors, while uncertain, will clearly have to evolve to address the public health endemic, reverse the effects of climate change and create truly just and complete communities. The federal government will play a key role in supporting these efforts, but it requires IDA to be strong advocate in the Capitol. Join us for a discussion of federal-level public policy and the lobby efforts needed to restore the core for our cities.

The Future of Parks

Managing parks takes time, resources and people determined to succeed. From operations and maintenance to planning for programs and events, employing the assistance of cutting-edge technology can quickly yield results. Dynamic management systems can make every site a case study unto itself. The lessons learned from one park can be scaled and applied to other public places as well.

Adapting Public Realm Innovations to Post-Pandemic Downtowns

How can mixed-use downtowns build on learnings from COVID-19 to enhance the public realm and boost commercial vibrancy? This session explores opportunities for BIDs to adapt pilot projects developed in the last year (shared/pedestrian priority streets, temporary plazas and outdoor dining) into long-term initiatives to increase foot traffic, retail activation and entice office tenants to return to the workplace.

From Edge to Innovation Center: Paving the Way to Smart City

Linking innovation and technology to place has emerged as a compelling strategy for district growth and economic development. This panel provides a retrospective from secondary markets on the rise that are fast transforming into cutting-edge innovation districts. Panelists will discuss the role that transportation, catalytic tenants, educational anchors, technology and real estate play in the creation of a smart city.

The Next Five Years and Beyond: Tools For Changing Mobility

Parking always represents an immediate issue. Cities are interested in avoiding or minimizing the need for expensive parking to support new investment as well as reducing automobile trips. This panel will explore near-term mobility strategies to address parking, including innovative, comprehensive suites of transportation demand management (TDM) tools.

Get Your District Back Online with Digital Advertising

There’s never been a greater need to quickly bring our districts back on track. Digital advertising is the most efficient channel for increasing foot traffic, event attendance and sales, but only when it’s done right. Learn how Downtown Norfolk used digital ads during the pandemic to become the country’s top travel destination, shattered Restaurant Week records and emerged with extraordinary momentum.

Discussing Sustainability for Small and Medium-Sized Districts

UPMOs can achieve operational savings, bring benefit to stakeholders and catch a competitive edge by focusing on sustainability. This session will introduce the business case for sustainability as outlined the IDA Sustainability Top Issues Council’s 2021 report. The heart of the session will focus on strategies that are most relevant to small- to medium-sized UPMOs and how sustainability can benefit their districts.

Recruiting Diversity to Propel Placemaking

How do we build great urban places in unexpected locations? And can we use mercantile diversity to drive larger conversations forward? This session highlights the stories of two communities, one suburban and one urban, and how their redevelopment success is built upon curated diversity and the homegrown business innovation of restaurants and retail entrepreneurs.

Friend or Foe – How to Effectively Manage the Media

Marketing is central to our work as downtown leaders. Understanding how the media works is key to getting your message out and making sure that your community is represented in the best light possible. Learn how to position yourself as a thought leader and become an effective and persuasive communicator.

Eyesores to Eye Candy: How to Fight Blight

Every downtown faces the challenge of vacant and blighted commercial buildings. These problems often appear intractable and frankly beyond the reach of an urban place management organization. Learn how two cities decided to step up and tackle this problem head-on with a data-driven approach using both carrots (incentive outreach) and sticks (litigation). Hear about what worked well and what didn’t.

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?

How BIDs Collaborate with Their Cities

Three different BIDs relate how they work with their cities on both day-to-day and project-based economic development. Learn how each BID has created its own working relationship with key city leadership, and how they work together on everything from business attraction to project formulation.

Changing Cultures, Brands and Names

As communities and districts evolve, place management organizations must follow suit. This panel will explore initiating and managing change from the inside/out on both the organizational and district level. The panelists will share the positives and challenges of renaming and expanding districts, rebranding efforts, expanding programmatic focus, measuring impact and building an inclusive organization culture.

Project Spotlight: Caring for Your Community

The Downtown Day Services Center offers services to individuals experiencing homelessness by utilizing a housing-first model and is operated by the DowntownDC BID. In South Africa, approximately 45 million people rely on the public health system most of whom are low-income earners who cannot afford to pay high prices for health care. Responding to this need, the Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP) collaborated with the Cipla Foundation to launch a new community-based healthcare.

Project Spotlight: Technology in Your Community

Learn about data driven and predictive urban management and public safety. Working in partnership with global security service provider Securitas SA, the Voortrekker Road CID has built and managed its own centralized control center through which all reporting is processed into a powerful response database. In Downtown DC the BID worked with Cube 84 to integrate the BID’s Salesforce-based database with 311, the District of Columbia’s non-emergency hotline.

Project Spotlight: Activating Retail and Real Estate in Your Community

Project Downtown, the master plan for Wichita, is a 15-year community vision and blueprint for development. The plan was founded on market economics with industry experts providing sound economic forecast information for development. The second project in this presentation is the Open on Main pop-up retail initiative which seeks to increase activity on Main Street, encourage more permanent tenants in the downtown core, and allow shop owners to test retail concepts and strategies.

Project Spotlight: Vibrancy in Your Community

The Golden Triangle BID installed 11 bioretention cells and 10 expanded tree boxes on the sidewalks of one of the neighborhood’s key streets. At over $1 million in construction costs and two full blocks of new green infrastructure, this is the largest capital improvement managed by the BID thus far. By building the new bioretention cells and expanded tree boxes, the BID converted 4,500 of concrete to new green space and added 33 trees and over 400 native plants.

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.

Get the Most from Your Boards of Directors

At their best, board members can be amazing advocates who bring expertise and support. A successful board provides structure and oversight and ensures that the mission of the organization is being fulfilled. Learn the important policies, systems and tricks of the trade to create highly functioning boards.

“Getting the Word Out:” Strategically Sound District Communications

In a world of packed calendars, dizzying social feeds and overflowing email inboxes—on top a global pandemic, no less—how can districts successfully deliver messaging, reach their target audiences and negotiate the needs of stakeholders who want district support in “getting the word out?” Speakers from communities large and small, share hands-on, proven tactics of how to strategically marry audience, channel and results.

Content Strategy: Expand Your Reach Through Strategic Content Creation

Today’s marketing professionals must create their own content to reach wider audiences and gain deeper interest in their brands. This session will identify the basic components of creating a content strategy plan. Panelists will offer a variety of approaches to content creation, including sharing successes and failures. Participants will examine what content model approaches might work best for their district.

Why So Serious? Follow the Fun to Find Your Voice

Could you pick your marketing voice out in a crowd, or do you sound like every other BID in your city? From newsletters, to signage, website copy and annual meeting videos, stop taking yourself so seriously and start having fun! Using both case studies and the basic tenets of improv comedy, BID communications experts will help make the mundane memorable.

HR Strategies Roundtable

This roundtable discussion with HR practitioners discussed topics around employee relations, benefits and compensation, compliance, employee engagement, recruitment and learning and development.