BID Public Space Management Earns International Downtown Association Recognition

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

By Sam Mullins

The DowntownDC Business Improvement District’s (BID) Public Space Management Department (PSM) received a 2015 Public Space Merit Award for downtown management Friday at the International Downtown Association's (IDA) 61st Annual Conference & Tradeshow.

“The DowntownDC BID’s project received the IDA Merit Award for delivering excellence in downtown management,” said IDA President and CEO David Downey. “Each year the IDA Awards Jury recognizes organizations that utilize best practices in our industry. Managing Public Space by Collecting, Connecting and Communicating is a shining example of excellent downtown management delivering real value to the city.”

One main focus of the DowntownDC BID’s PSM department is maintaining and enhancing public spaces in the BID’s 138-block area. This includes the responsibility of monitoring and requesting repairs for various physical conditions with which the public interacts every day. But today, the BID is using technology and data in new ways to improve that process.

The BID’s PSM department utilizes a customized technology program to track, map and monitor everything from damaged sidewalks to benches, streetlights and trees. This is accomplished through implementing iOS, geographic information systems (GIS) and cloud server technology to create a database of conditions that today has over 25,000 items and is being updated constantly with the information observed and recorded through iOS devices used by the BID’s Safety/Hospitality and Maintenance (SAM) employees and members of the PSM team. The collected information is then directly reported to the appropriate city agencies to promote timely attention to the problem.

In addition to reporting issues, the PSM team works on a range of projects such as real-time pedestrian counting which is used to better understand the number of people in downtown, assess nighttime economic conditions and determine walkability of the BID’s Entertainment Zone around Chinatown. Technology is also used to inventory and map Automated External Defibrillator (AED) locations throughout the BID, which are critical to cardiac arrest survival, and also in exploring the connection of privately-owned CCTV systems to the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to better utilize and access camera footage. The public space management team has also generated story maps using GIS technology to better explain and convey the BID’s role regarding public space management.

[Read more: “BID Trees Story Map Receives Award” January 2015]

The BID is a nationwide leader in the implementation and use of this technology and data to better serve urban public space and continues to work to improve the process and public spaces in Downtown each day.