Downtown renewal is occurring throughout the United States. Increasingly, the revitalization process is more about incremental, entrepreneurial efforts to make downtowns enjoyable and less about comprehensive projects that physically alter large swaths of property. A leader in this "new" revitalization of downtown is the business improvement district (BID). To understand how BIDs are improving downtown life, this article presents the results of a national survey of 264 independently managed BIDs operating in 43 states. Among other things, the survey discovered that BIDs in large and small communities are most involved with marketing downtown districts, providing supplemental sanitation and security services, and advocating public policies that promote downtown interests. Although this research did not measure the impact of BIDs, it suggests that they are playing an important role in downtown renewal because of their extensive involvement with the delivery of services that are elementary yet consequential.
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