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Experts discuss impact of business improvement districts at City event

Workshop organised by City economist and BID researcher Dr Giulia Faggio


Experts in the role that business improvement districts (BIDs) can play in the regeneration of town centres were among the speakers at a City, University of London event that explored the issue.

The full-day workshop – which was called “The BID model: is it working? Lessons from the past, ideas for the future” – was hosted by the Department of Economics.

The aim of the free, public event was to provide a forum for policy makers, business practitioners and academics across Europe to share their experiences of BIDs. Speakers included academics and representatives from BIDs in the UK, Spain and Germany.

Organiser Dr Giulia Faggio, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at City who is researching the impact of BIDs, said the subject had not received enough public attention, but the workshop had been a success.

“The business improvement district model is an urban regeneration policy that targets high streets and town centres,” she said. “Its goal is to regenerate these urban retail areas by reducing pollution and crime, thereby enhancing consumer spending – but there is much more.

“The policy has been implemented in the UK for the last 13 years, but it has not attracted the public attention and received the media coverage that I think it deserves. The workshop was a first attempt in this direction.”

She added: "The workshop went very well. It achieved its objective of bringing together industry practitioners, academics and policy makers to discuss the working of the BID model.

"Speakers were excellent and, most of all, passionate about what they do. Presentations were outstanding, packed with up-to-date information, and providing evidence of successful and less successful initiatives without fear of disclosing what practices work best."

The intensive workshop programme was organised into three blocks. The first block focused on the evolution of the BID model in the UK. The second block reviewed success stories of BIDs from Newcastle, Liverpool and Hamburg (Germany).

The third block included a presentation of evidence on the role of BIDs in reducing local crime; a review of the design of an effective BID model in Spain from a legal perspective; and a discussion on the possible transformation of the BID model into a more inclusive policy tool, moving from a business-focus to a community-focus.


See the programme for the event

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