Ends on

Are you an expert in your field? IDA’s Top Issues Councils address a selection of the most pressing issues facing downtowns and city centers. This year’s Top Issues Council briefs cross a variety of topics that UPMOs face.  Applications to join the 2024 Councils are open now and due by January 17, 2024 at 11:59 pm ET. Council work will commence by March 2024.  

To be eligible for a Top Issues Council position, the applicant must be an IDA member. Further guidelines can be found below on the application. Questions? Contact Cathy Lin, AICP, Director of Research, at cathy@downtown.org.  

  • Mental Health of Ambassadors: Exposure to various critical incidents—from witnessing violent crimes to managing human waste —can and does significantly influence ambassadors’ wellbeing. Organizations must recognize the importance of considering ambassadors’ mental health when developing programs and policies to support these invaluable workers. How are UPMOs providing adequate resources, mental health support, and training to address the emotional well-being of ambassadors? 
  • Inclusive Urban Place Management Organizations: Diversity, equity, and inclusion have become priorities like never before in the work of urban place management organizations. What best practices are UPMOs setting to embed DEI in all parts of the organization, from governance to staff to programming?   
  • AI for UPMOs: The possibilities of artificial intelligence (AI) seem endless, and also overwhelming! How can AI begin to apply to the work of UPMOs, whether it be in organizational management, marketing, outreach, placemaking, and more? This Council will be particularly exploratory to narrow down ideas for how UPMOs can use AI, and what to consider in employing this new technology.  
  • Investing Downtown: Investing in downtown in the face of high interest rates, unfavorable capital markets, and generally uncertain economic futures is challenging. What are creative ways that UPMOs work with the real estate community and other potential investors to tell the story of their district?  
  • Social Media/Digital Marketing: The story of your district is constantly evolving, especially in this recovery period. How do UPMOs use an authentic voice across different platforms to connect with different groups and tell a unified story about the evolution of downtown and the urban district?  stry, and bring together member-practitioners working directly in these fields to share trends and case studies. The pandemic and its lingering effects have forced UPMOs and other downtown stakeholders to view the city in a different way. This year’s TIC Briefs focus on the innovations in programs and services that many UPMOs provide.
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