The Commercial District Advisor team spent the beginning of this week at the International Downtown Association (IDA) World Congress and 59th Annual Conference. The event brought downtown managers and other urbanists from all over the world to New York City for three days of panels, round tables, tours and workshops.
With so many things to see and do, it is difficult to put together a complete list of highlights. Here are just a few of my favorites…
1. Sitting in the front row while Mayor Mike Bloomberg talks about adding “zest” to city life.
2. Kristopher Larson, ED of the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority’s insightful and entertaining presentation on innovative approaches to modern public engagement.
The takeaway? The “same old” strategies for getting public input in downtown revitalization projects don’t work anymore. To be effective in reaching new downtown residents and soliciting their input, use social media (polls on Facebook, for example) and rethink public meetings (see image), to name a few.
3. Seeing how other cities around the world approach their marketing materials for business attraction. (The Mill Avenue District in Downtown Tempe’s “Brag Sheet” is a great idea. Click the photo for digital versions of Mill Avenue’s materials.)
4. Taking Placemaking 301 with Dan Biederman, and learning that one of the metrics for evaluating Bryant Park is the ratio of women to men using the park every day (when women outnumber men, it is a good day). More about the counts on their blog.
6. The Commercial District Advisor (in the flesh!) giving a presentation on Identifying and Attracting the Appropriate Retailers and Developers.
7. And finally, when downtown managers from all over the world got together in DUMBO, and this happens: