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Downtown areas are a vital port for social services, human contact, the exercise of free speech, employment, food, and other necessary resources; however, visibly poor people are increasingly shut out as laws and policies increasingly restricts access to these core spaces. Business improvement districts (BIDs) have significant influence on the creation and enforcement of laws that regulate downtown public space. BIDs wield significant political and economic power; they can also effectively deputize citizens to act as a form of private security with broad authority and discretion to enforce these spatial regulations. This brief examines the increasing privatization of public space, the role of BIDs in this process, and the impact on visibly poor people.

Keywords: business improvement district, tourism, economic, criminalization, homeless, BID, lobbying, public space, private space