All of us at IDA are excited to release the new IDA website and member database. Not only is the member experience greatly improved, but our new system will provide enhanced and direct access to member resources in the Knowledge Center, new illustrative organization profiles, and most importantly, begin to harness the power of data - making IDA the central hub of place management industry intelligence. Visit to get started today. Please note: the old website with domain will be accessible for a short time longer, but information will not be updated.

Top Issues Councils

Since 2016, a selection of the most pressing issues facing downtown urban centers has been addressed by IDA's Top Issues Councils. These Councils bring together industry leaders to produce research briefs on the top urban issues identified by IDA members in the areas of economy, experience and partnership. This strategic initiative promotes the expertise of the profession and provides meaningful tools and information to IDA members.

Each council is led by a chair with expertise in the issue area, and works with four or five IDA members over the course of six months to produce a research product on one of the industry’s top issues. The council research products can take the form of a white paper, toolkit, case study, infographic, etc. based on the direction of the council. The leader works with the group to define the scope of the issue as it applies to the work of our members in the downtown and urban district management industry; to set internal working deadlines; and to serve as the liaison to IDA. All work is supported by IDA staff and the IDA Research Committee.

To view a comprehensive list of IDA Research publications click here. Visit the IDA webstore to purchase reports.

Top Urban Issues

The top issues facing urban districts in the next three to five years fall under economy, experience and partnership. Issues surrounding the downtown economy ranked as the top priority overall, followed by the downtown experience, and then partnerships. Partnerships ranked third in North American priorities for downtown professionals, yet tops the list in other nations.

Research Value of U.S. Downtowns and Center Cities principles

Research revealed some specific priorities based on city size:

  • When it comes to smaller-size cities, retaining local property owners and increasing the diversity of their retail mix is at the top of the agenda.
  • In mid-size cities, we are understanding, housing affordability is really pressuring that segment the most.
  • In larger cities, where there might be a multitude of management organizations, collectively, they are focused on activating public space, continued enhancement of pedestrian improvements and increasing access to urban parks.

    Topics like environmental impacts and social equity will remain relevant and important issues -- but if you look at the core issues on which downtown organizations feel they can have a significant impact, it still comes down to a healthy economic return for downtown districts, robust experiences, and contributing to be a leader in partnership roles between the local government and the private sector.


    2019 Top Issues Councils

    The 2019 Councils will explore the following four topics:

    • Smart Cities, Smart Districts: How can place management organizations best navigate the complexities of new technologies to more effectively manage their districts and create vibrant environments?
    • Housing Attainability: What role can place management organizations play to attract, manage, or advocate for attainable housing at all income levels?
    • Municipal Partnerships: What tools and strategies can district advocates and place management organizations use to strengthen municipal relationships and develop urban champions?
    • Opioid Crisis: What are best practices and strategies that place management organizations can employ to manage the opioid epidemic? 
    • Reserve your seat now! One corporate member slot per Council has been reserved for a sponsor. Corporate representatives should contact Tracie Clemmer for participation in the 2019 Councils.

      2018 Top Issues Councils

      Now in its third year, IDA has brought together 45 members to serve on six Councils. The 2018 Top Issues Council reports are now on sale in the IDA webstore. The reports explore key topics within the industry, including:

      2017 Top Issues Councils

      For the second year, over 50 IDA members have served on six Councils, each exploring a key topic within our industry and authoring a guidebook for sharing trends, case studies, and recommendations:

      2016 Top Issues Councils

      In 2016, more than 47 IDA members and industry experts collaborated for six months to produce professional reports with meaningful tools for IDA members to use in their daily work. The 2016 topics are:

      Join a Council

      Serving on an IDA Top Issues Council provides an opportunity for an engaged leadership role within IDA; to have your work recognized and published; to share expert knowledge; to connect with fellow practitioners; to expand your network; to learn more in depth about a topic relevant to your work; and to contribute to the growing, relevant body of knowledge on the place management industry. Contact Cathy Lin, Director of Research at to learn more about the Councils.