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Why the Rio Earth Summit should matter to urbanists
Next American City    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
There are 100 days left until the Rio 2012 Earth Summit, one of this year's most important international conferences that no one is talking about. Also called Rio+20, and officially known as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the summit tackles environmental issues on a global scale. Unlike official climate change conferences like COP 17, which just passed in Durban, South Africa, the Rio summit is intended to be an event for all stakeholders to promote a vigorous climate change agenda. More

 News From the Top

Elizabeth Nicols, Executive Director, Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, 2012 Annual Conference Chair
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"Young industry professionals needed!" Yes, this is the battle cry of a relevant, contemporary organization. I am calling on the IDA membership to assist in identifying young professionals within our industry to participate on the 2012 Annual Conference and Tradeshow planning committee. Whether I’m working to build a stronger downtown Milwaukee or the IDA annual conference, I know success can only be achieved with fresh new ideas and approaches from diverse opinions. Downtowns are more diverse than ever before and the IDA community of engaged leaders will need to better reflect the downtowns we serve.

The generation-Y or millennial generation is providing leaders of tomorrow, and collectively driving significant change in our cities. It is imperative for the young professional in our industry to help drive change in the IDA organization. Millennials account for a growing twenty-eight percent of the Canadian workforce and nearly one quarter of the U.S workforce. These percentages will grow as baby boomers retire and still more millennials enter the workforce. Perhaps most striking, however, is that the millennial generation is flocking toward an urban lifestyle with little to no sign of ever choosing the suburbs later in life.

 Membership Spotlight

Spotlight on Business Improvement Districts
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There are over 1,200 Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) across the country. Although there are numerous names used for these special tax districts, BID seems to be the most common. More

Atlanta streetcar project reaches major milestone
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The MARTA Board of Directors unanimously approved the design-build contract for the Atlanta Streetcar Project. MARTA selected the firm URS Corporation after a competitive procurement process. More

 This Week @ IDA

WEBINAR - Art Initiatives in the Loop — March 22 at 2 p.m. EST
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The Chicago Loop Alliance was recognized in 2011 by the IDA for three creative programs centered around art in Chicago's downtown. Launched in November 2009, the Pop-Up Art Loop initiative transforms vacant Loop storefronts into public art galleries, exhibits and studios, showcasing Chicago's diverse artist community. Art Loop, a program launched by CLA in 2010, features public art works by a distinguished artist in the Loop every summer. Building on the equity CLA has created using these programs, Art Loop Open — an art competition — was launched in Fall 2010 as an extension of Art Loop to provide an opportunity for emerging artists to showcase their body of work to a more mainstream audience. Join us we discuss CLA's success with these programs and their commitment to continue promoting the Loop in a more dynamic way.

Reserve your space TODAY by visiting IDA's website.

Transportation update: Senate approves MAP-21 transportation bill
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The House Remains in Disarray

The past few weeks have been another roller coaster for House Republicans. Leadership's efforts to salvage something from the past year's efforts and to craft a surface transportation reauthorization bill have borne mixed results.

After the House bill unraveled a couple of weeks ago, House Republicans set out to craft a new version that would at the very least advance something (anything) out of the House and enable the chamber to conference its version with the Senate. The first idea, floated about two weeks ago, was something akin to the Senate approach: a significantly more modest, 18 to 24 month bill that would effectively pass consideration of the issue onto the next Congress. This shorter term approach attracted opposition from many in the House Republican caucus. As discussions continued last week, House Republican leadership removed Transportation Committee Chairman Mica from direct control of the process and replaced him with a combination of legislators who are closer to Speaker Boehner, namely Pennsylvania Congressman Bill Shuster and Ohio Congressman Steve LaTourette. Within a week, House Republican leadership had re-reversed course and is now once again purportedly considering a longer term bill. There is also now some discussion of engaging Democrats into these discussions.

The collapse of the House reauthorization process was poignantly revealed in a caucus meeting among the House Republicans on Wednesday of last week when Speaker Boehner presented two courses for them: either they needed to find some middle ground to pass some version of a surface transportation bill in the coming weeks, or they would have to consider and adopt the Senate bill.

For the Love of Cities: A Love Affair between People and their Places, Peter Kageyama, Author. Book review by Davon Barbour, Assistant Director, Downtown Development Board/CRA, Orlando, Fla.
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For the Love of Cities: A Love Affair between People and their Places explores the emotional bond that exists between people and their built environment. Author Peter Kageyama advocates that cities that generate a greater emotional connection with their residents benefit socially and economically. Downtown practitioners understand the value and importance of placemaking. It is for this reason that we continually invest in special events, arts & cultural programming, and other aesthetic elements to create memorable experiences for the people who reside, work, or visit our cities. As Peter concisely communicates, cities are more than landscape of physical structures. They are living organisms that constantly need nurturing and love.

According to Kageyama, "it's time to align our aspirations and vision with our rhetoric and accept that emotions, particularly love, can and must play a key role in the future direction of our cities." What makes a person love his/her city? Is it the diversity of its citizens? Is it that quirky festival? Perhaps it is the simple ability to be an active player in shaping the future of the city. Answers to these questions as well as many other factors influence why one chooses to live in a specific city – and even more important why one loves that city. Kageyama discusses a range of topics that impact our emotional connection (or lack thereof) with our community such as arts & culture, diversity, urban design and more. Like urban theorist Richard Florida, Kageyama reinforces the powerful economic development implications of these social and cultural investments. Furthermore, the book highlights economic development projects that resulted from the emotional connection between citizens and their lovable cities. Read more.

Full paid registrants of the IDA Spring Conference in Orlando, Fla. will receive a free copy of For the Love of Cities.

Register today! Visit the conference webpage for details on conference offerings. Reserve your room at the Grand Bohemian.

 Downtown Talk

Mass transit use rises as gas prices soar
CNN    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Ridership on the nation's trains and buses hit one of the highest levels in decades, with officials crediting high gas prices, a stronger economy and new technology that makes riding public transit easier. More

San Jose, Calif. preparing to roll out new, free Wi-Fi network throughout downtown
Mercury News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For years, San Jose, Calif., has called itself the "Capital of Silicon Valley," and city officials hope to bolster that image by announcing a cutting-edge, free outdoor Wi-Fi network the city plans to have up and running in downtown soon. More

Work starts on renaissance of downtown Edmonton, Alberta's gritty east side
Edmonton Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Edmonton, Alberta, has two downtowns — rich and poor, west and east of 97th Street. The west side sprouted glass office towers; the east flattened into parking lots, gravel and potholes, empty lots and rooming houses, with a crime rate five times the city average. More

Spending transit billions
Ottawa Citizen    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Sometimes one has to wonder if Ottawa and Toronto are in the same province. When it comes to transit, the two cities certainly play by different rules. More

Businesses enjoy success in downtown Carlisle, Pa.
Penn Live    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New businesses flocked to the Carlisle downtown last year, when at least 10 new stores opened their doors. "Carlisle is currently in a renaissance," Carla Snyder of the Downtown Carlisle Association said. "Many businesses here are thriving and seeing higher than expected sales numbers." More

Mesa, Ariz.. touts readiness for downtown development
The Republic    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Mesa, Ariz., officials treated 50 developers to breakfast, inventive videos, a bus tour and Cactus League game as part of a six hour sales pitch about investment opportunities in downtown Mesa. The extensively planned promotion was launched as the light-rail extension, viewed as a $200 million stimulant for downtown's metamorphosis, is about to get under way. More

Business owners weigh in on business improvement districts
The Auburn Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Auburn, Calif., business owners are reacting to controversy over the city's business improvement districts, which arose among members at a recent city council meeting. More

Fund change may hurt development in Ohio
Springfield News-Sun    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A statewide revitalization program in Ohio credited with creating thousands of jobs and remaking the skyline of Springfield is undergoing changes that some fear might curtail future developments. More

Mayor Bloomberg signs Westchester Square Business Improvement District into law to help shopping hub?
New York Daily News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The stroke of a pen at New York City's City Hall could trigger the revitalization of an East Bronx neighborhood. Mayor Bloomberg signed the new Westchester Square Business Improvement District into law, paving the way for local property owners and merchants to clean up and advertise the commercial crossroads. More

The growth lesson America could take from China
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The basic driver of remarkable economic growth in China — and India, Vietnam, Thailand, Brazil and pretty much every other developing country — is pretty simple: people migrating from rural areas, where they're not very productive, to dense cities, where they are very productive. More
Weekly news & views of the International Downtown Association
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