The Institute of Place Management and The BID Foundation will be making leading contributions to the International Precinct Management conference on 25 July in Johannesburg, South Africa. A North American perspective will be provided by the International Downtown Association whilst there will be a number of South African contributions.

Cat Mitton, Executive Director of The BID Foundation, and David Downey, Chief Executive of the International Downtown Association will provide the opening keynotes, whilst later in the morning the experience of BID-like organisations in different provinces of South Africa will be presented. Discussion sessions will be chaired by Professor Gary Warnaby and Simon Quin of the Institute and Tim Tompkins, Chief Executive of Times Square BID in New York.

South Africa has had City Improvement Districts (also called Special Rating Areas and Precinct Management) for 20 years, though their legal form varies as it is based on provincial rather than national legislation. In Gauteng, a successful legal challenge in 2015 means that former CIDs now operate as Voluntary Management Initiatives. BID-like structures are now to be found in many South African cities but unlike in the UK and US, there is no national organisation that brings them together.

The conference has been organised by a number of parties in South Africa including the South African Property Owners Association. In most CIDs, it is property owners, including residential owners, who pay the levy. The event has been designed to explore the best approach to urban management, drawing on international and domestic experience; to explore the benefits of a national body for urban management; to identify research, training and education needs for effective delivery, and to look at the policy implications of this approach.

During the visit to South Africa, the international speakers will also meet with CIDs in Cape Town and Johannesburg and have chance to learn from their experience and exchange ideas. A report of the conference will be made after the event.