Work has been underway for some years to explore the potential for BIDs in Spain and in February La Asociación Española para la Gerencia de los Centros Urbanos (AGECU) (the Spanish association for the management of urban centres) presented proposals to the government.
In making the case for BIDs in Spain, an analysis of BID operations around the world, including the UK, has been undertaken by Helena Villarejo Galende, Senior Lecturer in Administrative Law at the University of Valladolid, and Maria Luisa Esteve Pardo, Senior Lecturer of Tax Law at the University of Girona. Their analysis looked at the history and growth of BIDs, the roles that various actors must play to initiate and operate BIDs and what is required from government. The proposal is for a similar model to that adopted in Europe, with BIDs for limited terms of four or five years. The proposal suggests enabling legislation by the government of Spain, model definition by the autonomous communities around the country (such as Andalusia, Galicia etc), and then local ordinances and BID agreements at a local authority level.
The analysis report concludes that BIDs have been beneficial in jurisdictions where they exist: “a worldwide success as a new model of muncipal governance”. It suggests that BIDs are “the best response to the problems currently facing the urban economy in Spain”.
One of the information sources the submission quoted was written by Álvaro Costela Sánchez, who works for BID Foundation member Liverpool BID Company. Álvaro’s article looks at the development and experience of BIDs in Germany and the relevance this may have for Spain. He notes that though BIDs were first initiated in Germany in 2005, their growth and development has been far slowed than in the UK.
German Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) as a model for Spain (2017) explores some of the hurdles faced by BIDs in Germany, including political opposition from the right over their potential interference in freedom of association and in the free market, concerns that they were just a tax increase, and from the left that they are part of the neoliberal agenda that leads to the privatisation of public space. More positively support has come from German Greens in that they are means to involve civic society in city management.
In Germany, it is property owners who contribute to BIDs rather than occupiers, and this has itself caused problems as the property base is not large enough in some locations to provide meaningful funding and in some instances this has led to BIDs not being continued. Three short case studies on a suburban BID, a city centre BID and Europe’s first housing BID (a HID) are included in the report.