I learned about BIAs through my job last summer with an employment agency and was wondering what people's thoughts were on their usefulness, as a lot of what they do seems to be pretty meaningless aesthetic stuff that does little to actually improve a communities attractiveness to potential shoppers, businesses and real estate investors.
Note that I'm from Toronto, where BIA's originated. We now have 64 BIAs.
Here's a site with some info on them for anyone unfamiliar to look over:
Actually, I think that if they all had websites that were linked through sites that are already popular and if the main bia site that I linked were actually advertised to the general public through tv or billboard ads, that would do a lot more to improve business in these areas than any of the actual street level stuff going on. I think what those involved in BIAs fail to realize is that the power of the internet and multimedia advertising are much greater than the power of a nicely planned streetscape and well-kept storefronts and facades.
In my job, others told me that the BIAs do very little to actually help economic development in the area, though they do serve as a political force nonetheless and do get some very small things done.
Anyway, I want to know what the rest of you think, and would like to hear about BIAs outside Toronto.