Authored by Marco Li Mandri – May 2024

New City America is one of the country’s premier Business District and Assessment-District formation agents and management entities for Downtowns, neighborhoods, and mixed-use districts with over 25 years of experience in empowering communities to work for a better future.  Since its inception in the mid-1990s, New City America has achieved the following milestones:

  • Business Improvement Districts, Community Benefit Districts, and Tourism Improvement Districts formed by New City America, since their establishment starting in the mid-90s, are generating approximately $114,000,000 in cumulative, annual revenues as of 2023. We project the annual revenue generation to increase each year as we expand nationwide and work with cities to develop local, effective financing mechanisms, controlled by its stakeholders at the district level.
  • New City America has established 94 new Business Improvement Districts, Community Benefit Districts, and Tourism Improvement districts since 1996 and is estimated to reach 100 formed by the end of 2024.
  • New City America has aided in the formation of over 70 District Management Corporations which provide daily management in its Assessment Districts.
  • New City America simultaneously manages 6 District Management Corporations in California with an anticipated 4 new districts to be managed by the end of 2025.
  • New City America has worked in multiple states to provide valuable District Management Corporation consulting services to improve the performance of existing districts. We have provided such services in California, Arizona, and Nevada. Oregon, Washington State, Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, Maryland, Washington D. C, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts.

U.S. cities cannot be managed and operated in the 21st century as they were in the 20th century.  We have been operating our cities on a model put forward during the Progressive Era, which expanded rapidly in the first few decades of the 20th century.  That system of governance needs to adapt to the fiscal and natural realities that face the sustainability of U.S. cities today. There are critical issues that North American cities are facing in the 21st century relative to their economic growth. Here are a few of those issues:

  • The weakening of the central city office economy fueled the regional economics of every major city Downtown or Center City in the US from 1945 to 2020. For roughly 75 years, the weekly, mass migration of office, private, and public-sector employees and resulting service employees provided the material basis of livelihood for Downtowns by way of construction, employment, and commerce. That daily, economic ecosystem was hugely tested and impacted by the pandemic of 2020.
  • Market rate and affordable housing within our dense center city districts are the keys to future revitalization of our Downtowns and key business districts.
  • City finances, built upon property taxes, sale tax, hotel taxes, and related fees and fines, cannot and will not grow as quickly as costs to operate cities are rising in the 21st century.
  • The amount of maintenance our aging public infrastructure requires, whether it be transportation, water and sewer, energy, or public safety, may not be sustained under today’s local and state budget limitations.
  • Every level of government has been and will remain at financial crisis levels, as there is not enough new revenue coming into cities to keep up with rising costs.
  • Public pensions, though earned and well-deserved, may not be sustainable long term and ultimately siphon larger shares of annual city budgets to simply stay afloat.
  • The United States suffers from an outrageously large surplus of retail, commercial, and industrial buildings constructed in the late 19th century, throughout the 20th century and in the first two decades of the 21st century. There are simply too many obsolete, non-historic and non-functional buildings woven throughout the urban and rural landscape of the US.
  • Environmental neglect of our waterways, air, and land has and will continue to cost the nation dearly. Local and state governments do not have the financing to respond to these ongoing health hazards in a reasonable timeframe.
  • Local and state ordinances adding incredibly higher costs to new housing, coupled with poor, short term planning, has led to one of the greatest housing shortages in the US since the end of World War II.
  • Children in schools and those who are in secondary education and higher education do not study how cities, counties, and states operate, how funds are generated, nor how they can survive and thrive in a complicated political economy; thereby leading to ill-informed citizens who lack the knowledge to make decisions that benefit their own interests.
  • The number of homeless and unhoused citizens, married with the complete lack of effective mental health programs in nearly every city nationwide, is the result of nearly 60 years of bipartisan neglect by all levels of government. That neglect exploded with the Pandemic hitting the United States.


The Future of U.S. Cities

The future of cities in the US is dependent on vertical development. Our previous Downtown development booms were spurred on by the hi-tech, insurance and banking/finance industries and, in the future, will increasingly be dependent on the building of new vertical residential units, which will put intense demands on surrounding neighborhoods and their public rights of way. The goal will then be revitalizing existing neighborhoods based on the growing needs of each community, including accommodations for mixed income, mixed race, and mixed age to coexist and properly reflect the reality of today’s diverse cities.

District Management Corporations (DMCs), in the form of community, public-benefit, non-profit corporations, should be lessening the burden of government policy by encouraging cities to adopt new, locally-based financing programs that are put in place by popular support.  Examples of these locally-based financing mechanisms may include, but not be limited to, property assessment districts, sales tax increment districts, parking meter revenues invested back into the areas from which they were generated, private and public grants for capital improvements, and a sustainable system of ongoing community participation from the local residents, businesses, and institutions.  These community and district-based programs will be the only way to mitigate the demands created by this new, local density.

Cities will increasingly have to seek other ways to provide quality, daily services to their citizens.  The best example of how that will be done is through partnerships via agreements with DMC public-benefit, non-profit organizations who can manage public spaces, parks, public rights of way, facilitate marketing services, and support local law enforcement.  In our experience, the best example of how this program has worked can be seen in the Little Italy community in Downtown, San Diego – a district New City America has managed since the late 1990s.