Why Some BIDs Succeed Where Others Fail

An in-depth study of business improvement districts (BIDs) in two Los Angeles neighborhoods examines the factors behind their success or failure.

1 minute read

October 23, 2015, 7:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


MacArthur Park

Wurzeller / Wikimedia Commons

Oscar Perry Abello shares news of a comparison study published in the Urban Affairs Review journal, by SUNY Albany Assistant Professor Wonhyung Lee.

While BIDs are usually conceived as purely commercial entities, according to Abello's description of the study, "BIDs in smaller neighborhoods can serve as a pathway for more comprehensive community development."

Lee writes, "Strong community organizing by other institutions, like churches or neighbors associations, can lead to successful formation of a BID, which then becomes a vehicle for brokering productive relationships between otherwise disparate populations united by the common cause of neighborhood business growth."

Lee's research compared BIDs in two multiethnic L.A. neighborhoods: the Byzantine-Latino Quarter and MacArthur Park. The first succeeded while the second foundered. Lee identifies three primary factors behind the Byzantine-Latino Quarter's success: 1) strong, entrenched leadership, 2) organizational resources and connections, and 3) a positive atmosphere around diversity and ethnicity.

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