When the International Downtown Association begins its 64th annual conference in San Antonio on Wednesday, more than 900 registrants will meet and exchange ideas on the theme “Retropolitan: The New American City.”
It’s about “preserving a rich and diverse culture while looking forward, looking to the future,” said Eddie Romero, vice president of marketing at Centro San Antonio, co-host of the international gathering of placemaking experts along with the IDA. “So that thread will be in the tours, the workshops, and some of these master talk speakers.
The IDA is composed of 2,500 place management organizations from around the world, which, like Centro, are focussed on growing and activating urban cores, and which manage public improvement district.
Its three-day conference offers participants tours of San Antonio’s major urban projects — Alamo Plaza, Hemisfair and Zona Cultural, as examples. Multimodal tours include one by barge of River Walk architecture, one by bus of the Spanish colonial Missions, and one by bike of West Side murals. A mobile workshop explores the Pearl, “How a Historic Brewery Transformed a City.”
They’ll also discuss broader topics most downtowns are facing with sessions such as “Dockless Bikes and Scooters: The New Frontier,” “Downtown’s Role in Achieving Equity and Mitigating Gentrification,” “Parking is Changing—How and Why Your Downtown Organization Must Be Involved.”
Visit idaconference.org for a complete schedule.