Thursday, May 5, 2011

Revitalization of Urban Areas through Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) – Trends and Expectations for Shrinking Cities


A Business Improvement District (BID) is a geographically defined and mostly inner city area by which property and business owners make a collective contribution to the maintenance, development and marketing/promotion of their commercial district. BIDs typically provide services such as street, sidewalk, park and open space maintenance, enhanced safety and security, marketing, capital improvements, and various development projects. The services provided by BIDs are a supplement to the services already provided by the municipality. The concept of BIDs was started in Toronto, Canada in the 1970s and there are now more than 1.700 BIDs worldwide.
In this paper, the focal point of the considerations consists in pointing out the role and importance of new BID activities in Germany, which has had to operate under increasingly difficult conditions. Firstly, more and more regions, especially in Eastern Germany and the Ruhr Region, are demographically shrinking regions. Only a few cities will grow in the next 20 years, so that Germany will have to deal with greater regional disparities in the near future. Secondly, due to the fact that the budget gap of the communities is getting larger and larger, more than ever BIDs could be a reasonable downtown management strategy to revitalize urban areas. The article exemplifies the trends and expectations to establish BIDs in Germany and Europe by addressing the questions: how BID activities affect the retail economy and whether their strategies promote sustainable urban regeneration in downtowns in the long term.
Furthermore, the article explains the BID concept in the Federal Republic of Germany and outlines the improvements and services a BID is specifically enabled to undertake under German Law. As a pioneer, the city of Hamburg established a “Law of Strengthening Retail Districts” which entered into force as from January 1, 2005. Under the terms of the law a BID is a temporary organization – working for five years. The establishment of the individual BID needs the support of 2/3 of the local businesses and property owners. It is funded by a special tax based on the commercial space (local businesses) or the value of the properties – which is why the Hamburg pilot project will require special legislation. In Hamburg, the BID organises physical and organisational improvements, e.g. management of the neighborhood, waste management, parking, street lighting, coaching of shopkeepers, marketing campaigns and events.

more posts about urban revitalization:

Partnership, Collaborative Planning and Urban Regeneration

Strategic Urban Planning and Design Tools for Inner City Regeneration: Towards a Strategic Approach of Sustainable Urban Form Future The Case of Bandung City, Indonesia

Norman Foster promotes the urban sustainability of Duisburg by regeneration masterplan

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