Albania, business improvement district, economic development, public-private partnerships, tourism improvement district, urban regeneration.
As a form of a public-private partnership with local authorities, the business improvement district (BID) is created when most businesses or business property owners agree through balloting to manage a delimited commercial area with prior authorization by the local authority. The district is managed through a non-profit organization that provides additional public services such as security, maintenance, infrastructure improvement, and marketing, to improve decaying commercial and residential areas. BIDs have been praised as engines for urban development, filling the need gap between the public and private sector by providing entrepreneurial local public management and augmented public services for socioeconomic revitalization. The business improvement districts (BIDs) and similar forms of a public-private partnership, as a new mechanism for urban renewal and economic development, have emerged in North America five decades ago and quickly adopted in many cities worldwide.
Since 2011, the model has been applied in 8 districts in Albania, contributing to improved business life, infrastructure improvements, and enhanced general public services. This time is considered long enough to offer insights regarding their evolution and transformative effects. This study aims at exploring the adaptation of the business improvement district (BID) model in urban areas in Albania and, at the same time, point out its characteristics, operational and functional activities, accountability, and contribution to business development and area revitalization.
The methodology used in this study adopts a qualitative method, including a case study approach to data gathering Primary data sources include semi-structured interviews with BID association members, administrators, and consultants in Albania, businesses, local government officials, and lawyers. This study will contribute to a more robust contextual understanding of the establishment and effectiveness of BIDs in developing economies
The findings presented demonstrate BID’s transformative role for area regeneration, economic and social development. Furthermore, this study provides additional insights regarding the effects of development organizations’ involvement in this public-private partnership model for area regeneration. The results have important implications for Albania’s public and development policies and provide practical lessons for practitioners in these fields. Furthermore, it contributes to the international literature on BIDs, including evidence of this model applied in a developing economy.
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