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Business Improvements in Philadelphia: A Practitioner’s Perspective


With this volume, Philadelphia can reflect on twenty years of experience with business improvement districts (BIDs). When the city first authorized the Center City District (CCD) in 1990, there was nothing like it in the region. Property owners in a high-tax city, mired in a severe national recession and municipal fiscal crisis, agreed to pay even more. For the press, it was the equivalent of a "man bites dog" story, providing the CCD with more than its share of coverage during both formation and launch. At the time, a BID existed nearby in Allentown, Pennsylvania, but that was beyond the region's horizon of awareness and in a smaller setting than anyone thought comparable to Philadelphia. BIDs were still a new national phenomenon, so it was to cities like New York and Portland, Oregon that the CCD planners had to look.