GREEN BENEFIT DISTRICTS, WHICH TAKE THE SHAPE OF BIDS IN RESIDENTIAL AREAS, COULD BE THE ANSWER TO ADDRESSING THE ISSUES CITY GOVERNMENTS CAN’T
There are approximately 274 business improvement districts, tourism districts, main street associations and other groups that have been formed to bring funded benefits to our downtown places throughout California. Their numbers have increased as the need for private interventions in our public spaces has become more urgent. In just the past eight years in Los Angeles, the number of BIDs has increased from 31 to 44. There is now a push to create Green Benefit Districts (GBDs). These districts operate in a similar fashion to BIDs, except they are residential and mixed-use neighborhoods raising funds to pay for additional maintenance and capital improvements. The intensity in which all of our public spaces are now used, in most cases due to increasing homeless populations, require resources that many of our cities simply cannot afford or spare. GBDs don’t yet exist in Los Angeles, but it is likely that they will in the near future. Improvement districts, whether they are commercial or residential, seemingly now face a simple choice: investment or neglect. We can long for the days when our taxes funded maintenance and capital improvements, or instead, our communities can assert control.