This is a really interesting article from the U.S. showing the possible evolution of some Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) this side of the Atlantic.
BIDs in Britain have evolved relatively rapidly over the last seven or eight years. Starting from a definite cleaner/greener/safer ethos and quickly realising that networking and building a business community with a strong voice are part and parcel of the way that we work. We are definitely moving faster, as a result of drawing on experiences from our U.S. counterparts, especially as more and more BIDs and major stakeholders recognise the strength and the local knowledge that we have. Better still, the realisation is growing that it is better to work together to really harness the various strengths coming out of these partnerships.
So now, many BIDs are at the stage of lobbying major stakeholders for better services, directing the way that local funding is used and sitting in those meetings to ensure the collective business voice is heard.
Georgetown, a BID formed in 1999 in the U.S., has recently launched a 15 year action plan which will take the city to 2028. Focusing largely on improved public space and better transportation systems, they have already secured around 50% of the funds from the private sector. You can read the full article here Georgetown BID Launches 2028 Plan – News – The Hoya.
Some British BIDs have started to produce similar plans, notably the Camden Town streetscape strategy (read more about it here) back in 2010.
As our business members want us to have more impact (but not forgetting the day-to-day issues along the way!) we will certainly see more and more BIDs, working both independently and as a strong group – in London for instance – to lobby those in top positions for big changes to the towns and cities in which we live, work and play.