Lecture Notes

ses # TOPICS discussion topics
1 Introduction to Downtown Management Organizations

What is “downtown” and why is it important?

How has the function and perception of downtown changed over time?

What is a downtown management organization?


The Dominance and Decline of Downtown

Guest speaker: Robert Fogelson, Professor of Urban Studies and History, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

When and why were downtowns dominant?

How and why have downtowns experienced decline?

How have scholars, politicians, and business leaders and property owners combated and contributed to the concept of decline?

3 The Revitalization of Downtown  
4 An Introduction to Business Improvement Districts

How have scholars, politicians, and downtown business leaders and property owners worked to change the reality of downtown?

How have they worked to change its perception?

What is a business improvement district (BID)?

How are BIDs formed? How are they governed?

Which functions do BIDs typically perform?

5 Business Improvement Districts (cont.)  

BIDs in New York City

Guest speaker: Susan Fainstein, Professor of Urban Planning, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

Based on empirical evidence, do BIDs work?

Are BIDs controversial? If so, when and why?


Pennsylvania’s Enabling Legislation

Guest speaker: David Cohen, Director of Development, North Philadelphia Health System; Former Executive Director of the City Avenue Special Services District in Philadelphia

How and why did Pennsylvania’s enabling legislation evolve?

What are the challenges associated with creating a bi-jurisdictional BID?

What should business leaders and property owners with an interest in forming a BID know and expect about the process?


Massachusetts’ Enabling Legislation

Guest speaker: Anne Meyers, President of the Downtown Crossing Association, Boston, Massachusetts

How and why is Massachusetts’ BID enabling legislation unique?

Why and from whom have efforts to form a BID for Downtown Crossing experienced resistance?


A Regional Approach to Downtown Management

Guest speakers: Chris Leinberger, Professor of Practice and Director of the Graduate Real Estate Development Program, University of Michigan, and Visiting Fellow, Brookings; Jerry Johnson, Co-Director of the Initiative for a Competitive Greater Reading

What are the particular challenges/opportunities of revitalizing the smaller downtown?

Why is a regional approach to downtown revitalization important?

In what ways does a regional approach differ from a localized approach?

10 A Global Perspective on DMOs Students work on group project and conduct field research.
11 A Global Perspective on DMOs (cont.)

Why and where did the BID model transfer?

How and why does the BID model vary across national contexts?


Discussion of Group Project

Guest speaker: Jeffrey Hebert, DUSP/MCP ‘04, Louisiana Recovery Authority

Students work on group project, time permitting.
13 Work on Group Project Students work on group project.
14 Presentations  
15 Final Class  

Sample Lecture Notes

The table below contains sample lecture notes from 2003 which may be of use.

lec # TOPICS
1 Introduction to the Course (PDF)

Canada (PDF)

The Origins of the BID Movement (PDF)

3 United States (PDF)
4 The Advancement of the BID Movement (PDF)
5 Crossing the Ocean (PDF)
6 Findings from Lectures 1 through 5 (PDF)
7 Guest Speaker, Jerry Mitchell (PDF)

Which Nations Will Soon Adopt the BID Concept? (PDF)

Australia/New Zealand (PDF)

Japan (PDF)

United Kingdom (PDF)

Course Info

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