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3 Drexel L. Rev. 35 (2010-2011)


Business improvement districts (BIDs) have become a ubiquitous feature of the urban development toolkit. An important - perhaps the most important - instantiation of the trend in urban governance toward the devolution of local authority to new sublocal, quasi-governmental institutions, BIDs play an important role in urban re-development efforts, especially efforts to revitalize downtowns and satellite center-city business districts. Drawing upon case studies of Philadelphia’s BIDS, this symposium essay seeks to answer three questions about how BIDs actually work on the ground: First, whether BIDs are actually functioning as local governments rather than quasi-private providers of supplemental services; second, whether BIDs either generate an insider/outsider problem within urban neighborhoods; and, third, whether BIDs exacerbate the pre-existing inequalities between urban neighborhoods.


Reprinted with permission of Drexel Law Review.

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