Following the 1970s fiscal crisis, business improvement districts (BIDs) emerged as the invisible stewards of New York City’s public realm. Funded by assessments on commercial property owners, 75 public-private partnerships invest $148 million in commercial districts each year and maintain over 125 public spaces across the five boroughs.

Over time, BIDs have taken on a more influential role in neighborhood planning, from making capital investments in the public realm and to marshaling social services. While advocates believe BIDs allow neighborhoods to govern themselves, critics warn against excessive fees, opaque governance, and uneven investment across New York City’s neighborhoods.

How can we better maintain commercial corridors in lower- and middle-income neighborhoods? And how can we better balance the interests of property owners, commercial tenants, and local residents in neighborhood planning?

On April 9th, the Urban Design Forum invited Meredith Almeida, Ellen Baer, Laura Hansen, Josh Levin and Leslie Ramos to debate how all neighborhoods and commercial corridors can equitably funded and maintained.


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About Maintaining ↓

Expanding the BID was the eleventh and final program of Maintaining, a year-long inquiry into strengthening New York City’s physical & social infrastructure.


Feature image credit ↓

Partner & Partners