The Importance of Downtown
Filed Under Downtown Birmingham, Front Page, Yaysayers
By David Downey
President and CEO, International Downtown Association
From driving tax revenue and business activity to hosting a concentration of resources, amenities, and social infrastructure, downtowns play a pivotal role in the long-term health of a region. As the literal and figurative heart of their cities, downtowns represent and welcome residents, employees, and visitors from all walks of life. Downtowns provide access to all to opportunity, essential services, culture, recreation, entertainment and civic activities.
The International Downtown Association, IDA for short, empowers place management leaders like REV Birmingham with knowledge, research and public policies for strengthening downtowns. Data is essential in this line of work: we must deeply understand the place to make actionable plans to improve it.
That’s why we have worked with 44 downtowns – a number that increases each year – on their Value of Downtown reports. The Value of U.S. Downtowns and Center Cities research articulates the inherent value a downtown provides to the greater city, highlighting a district’s contributions based upon 100+ key data points in the principles of Economy, Inclusion, Vibrancy, Identity and Resilience. Our 2020 data showed that study downtowns outpaced their cities in residential growth between 2000 and 2018, growing an average of 40% against the citywide average of 15%. Throughout our study, we find downtowns often comprise just 3% of the city land mass on average and contribute 20% or more of the overall tax base for the city.
IDA worked with REV in partnership with downtown property owners organized as the City Center District Management Corporation (CCDMC) and CAP to publish the Birmingham edition. The report is a detailed baseline from which Birmingham organizations, companies and leaders can track progress over time.
So where does Birmingham stand in relation to other downtowns? That’s where the Vitality Index comes in. The index, which updates as new data becomes available, builds upon IDA’s research in the Value of Downtown report and measures vitality through economy, inclusion and vibrancy scores.
This view is one of my favorite ways to look at the health of downtowns. Some cities may score high in one area but low in another (you may notice that inclusion is the lowest of the three scores for many cities above) – but there is always work to be done in every category. When the three scores are closer to each other, it’s more likely for a city to improve continue improving in all three categories simultaneously. We get very excited for the future of cities with this patter as they may be the most well-rounded communities to keep an eye on in the years ahead.
Download the Value of Downtown Birmingham report and check out REV’s key takeaways to see what Birmingham is doing well and what still needs work. I’m thankful to include REV among our 44 downtowns and appreciate that while this report is a key baseline for understanding where Birmingham exists today, its strength is to serve as a guide for decision-making for the future. Thanks to the top-notch IDA research team, led by Cathy Lin AICP, Birmingham can make big plans with confidence.
Why your voice on historic preservation is essential
Filed Under: Front Page, Get Involved, Historic Preservation, Residential
President and CEO of REV Birmingham David Fleming writes about the importance of historic preservation and highlights the advocacy efforts that saved the French Quarter in New Orleans and the Forest Park neighborhood in Birmingham. The article concludes with a call to action, urging for new leaders and the implementation of various strategies to protect and celebrate Birmingham’s historic buildings and places.
It's show time at the Woodlawn Theater!
Filed Under: Filling Vacant Spaces, Front Page, Small Business, Woodlawn, Yaysayers
Lights, Camera, Action! The rebirth of the Woodlawn Theater is happening this weekend in the heart of Woodlawn. The theater is opening its doors to the public with two extraordinary opening events that are FREE to the public. The 1400 square foot venue has a wide range of amenities and even has a full-service bar. Because of the Mason Music Foundation, this venue is filling a much needed resource for local musicians to perform. Keep reading to discover how the theater came back to life and its impact on the community.
What Stallions cornerback, Brian Allen loves about Birmingham
Filed Under: Downtown Birmingham, Events, Front Page, Yaysayers
Brian Allen, a talented cornerback, has made the remarkable transition from a small town in Texas to the vibrant city of Birmingham. Choosing Birmingham for his football career for two consecutive seasons, Brian’s unwavering dedication and exceptional skills have made him a standout figure in the world of football. To dive deeper into Brian’s journey and discover his genuine appreciation for the city, watch this video with the link below!