Business improvement districts and the influence of historical community development: The Forest Avenue and South Shore BIDs of New York City

Dan Ziebarth, Graduate Assistant, Fordham University Office of Research

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Abstract: Business improvement districts (BIDs) have become increasingly prevalent entities in urban neighbourhoods and communities. BIDs are non-profit organisations established to deliver public services and improve economic conditions by imposing additional assessments on property owners. BIDs are invariably intertwined with the communities they are established to serve, and as a result understanding the complex relationship between BIDs and communities is imperative. This paper seeks to evaluate the role historical community development and community actors play in the development and implementation of BIDs by utilising a case study analysis of two BIDs in the New York City borough of Staten Island. Findings from this study reveal that historical patterns of community development are the principal determinant of the organisational objectives and budget allocation of BIDs. Further research concerning the interconnection between communities and BIDs is also suggested.


Keywords: business improvement districts, community development, local governance, urban revitalisation, public–private partnerships


Dan Ziebarth is an MA candidate in the Graduate School of Arts and Science at Fordham University. His article ‘Mixed-income housing in St. George, Staten Island’ was published in the February 2018 issue of Local Economy.

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