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NYC Small Business Services
Press Release

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007


A third of the sessions at this year's International Downtown Association Conference and World Congress to be based upon models developed in New York City

This September 14-18, more than 1,000 downtown development professionals from across the nation and around the world will gather in New York City for the International Downtown Association Conference and World Congress, the largest economic development conference of its kind. The Conference, held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, will be co-hosted by the New York City Department of Small Business Services, the New York City Business Improvement District (BID) Managers Association and the New York City Workforce Investment Board.

"This year's conference – themed "Big Dreams, Bold Ideas" - will focus on how downtowns can diversify their economic base by nurturing sectors such as arts and culture, workforce development, education, health care, housing, conventions and tourism, and sports and entertainment, while reinforcing the more traditional downtown uses such as government, office and retail, in order to attract a critical mass of workers, students, shoppers, visitors and residents," said  David Feehan, President of the International Downtown Association. "With attendees from across North America, Europe, South Africa, China and Australia, this year also marks the first time that the conference will truly be international."

"We are pleased to welcome this conference to New York City and proud that one-third of the conference's sessions will focus on the successful models we have built across a range of disciplines, including workforce development, the sustainable architecture and infrastructure that are key components of PlanNYC 2030, cultural affairs and our network of Business Improvement Districts," said Daniel L. Doctoroff, the City of New York's Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding and a keynote speaker at the conference. "We look forward to sharing what we have accomplished in New York City and learning from the achievements of cities around the world."

"Significantly, this year marks the first time that workforce development will be a component of the International Downtown Association conference, and all of the workforce sessions will focus on the system we have built in New York City which has helped us increase the number of New Yorkers we place in jobs by more than 3,000 percent since 2003," said Robert Walsh, Commissioner of the City of New York's Department of Small Business Services. "Attendees at the conference will also study New York City's 56 Business Improvement Districts, the largest and most comprehensive network of BIDs in the country."

Keynote speakers at the conference include Daniel L. Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor, Economic Development and Rebuilding, City of New York; Kate D. Levin, Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of New York, New York; The Honorable Cory Booker, Mayor, City of Newark, New Jersey; Lars Gemzoe, Senior Consultant & Associate Partner, Gehl Architects, Copenhagen, Denmark; Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism Organization, St. Michael, Barbados; Otis White, Founder and President of Civic Strategies Inc., and Columnist for Governing Magazine; The Honorable Sheila Dixon, Mayor, City of Baltimore; The Honorable Bob Foster, Mayor, City of Long Beach; The Honorable Kurt Honold, Mayor, City of Tijuana, Mexico; and The Honorable Luke Ravenstahl, Mayor, City of Pittsburgh.

At the Conference, the Department of Small Business Services will be presented with an award for its Next Stop:NYC marketing campaign, which has encouraged patronage of small businesses in diverse communities across the City.

"The BID Managers Association is honored to be hosting, with the Department of Small Business Services, the International Downtown Association's annual conference," said Barbara Randall, current president of the BID Managers Association and executive director of the Fashion Center BID.  "It is both an opportunity for us to showcase the neighborhoods of New York City and the diversity of the work of our 56 BIDs as well as to learn about innovative programs occurring in cities and towns around the world."

"The IDA raises the visibility and importance of having urban centers which are as vibrant and dynamic as their residents," said Kenneth A. Himmel, President and CEO of Related Urban, developer of the Time Warner Center, a conference sponsor. "We are proud to welcome community and business leaders from around the world at this remarkable forum."

For the full conference agenda, visit the IDA website at to download the brochure.

Attendance at the conference is free to members of the media, excluding only luncheons, receptions and those special workshops for which there is an additional fee. To obtain a media badge, members of the press should fill out the attached registration form and fax it to the IDA at (202) 393-6801 or stop at the registration desk at the Hilton to register onsite.

About the hosts:

The International Downtown Association is a world leader of and champion for vital and livable urban centers. Through its network of committed individuals, its rich body of knowledge, and its unique capacity to nurture community-building partnerships, IDA is a guiding force in creating healthy and dynamic centers that anchor the well being of towns, cities and regions of the world.

New York City Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for New York City's more than 200,000 small businesses to form, do business, and grow by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighbor­hood development in commercial districts and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. The agency oversees the nation's largest, most comprehensive network of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), with 56 BIDs across the City's five boroughs providing nearly $80 million worth of services annually to more than 70,000 businesses. For more information, visit, dial 311, or, from outside the City, dial 212-NEW-YORK.

New York City BID Mangers Association
The directors of New York City's 56 Business Improvement Districts have joined together to form the New York City BID Managers Association. The Association, and the BIDs that they serve, are dedicated to fos­tering economic development, strengthening neighborhoods and enhancing the lives of New Yorkers.

New York City Workforce Investment Board
The New York City Workforce Investment Board (WIB), created by the federal Workforce Investment Act in 1998, oversees federally funded workforce programs in New York City.  The Board, which is made up of 40 volunteer members, includes representatives from local businesses, educational institutions, labor unions, community-based organizations, and other government agencies. The WIB develops policies to ensure that workforce initiatives implemented by New York City's workforce partners successfully fulfill Mayor Bloomberg's vision of a strong workforce development system.

IDA Conference Brochure

Kara Alaimo (SBS) 212-513-6318
Elizabeth Wells (IDA) 312-285-3308

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