Barbara Askins serves as President and CEO of the 125th Street Business Improvement District in Upper Manhattan (Harlem) in New York City. She has done extensive work in the field of improving cities as a public involvement specialist on transportation, environmental and facility planning projects, working on major projects in several cities that included reconstruction of highways and city streets, upgrading rail and bus systems, improving sewage-treatment facilities, creative public spaces, and sports and conventions center. Her fields of specialization are Economic Development; Workforce Development and Community Building; Nonprofit Organizations, Grassroots Organizing; Urban Planning; Government; and Media Relations.
She successfully created the first and only Business Improvement District in the Harlem community. She is guiding the development of result-oriented strategies involving retail plans, re-zoning for future growth, cultural sustainability, and evaluating the interplay between science, technology and businesses. To forge a livable, safe, and inclusive community, she is working with Columbia University researching was to use technologies built on advances in wireless communications that promote privacy and security while balancing community-defined benefits.
Her public involvement strategies have led to successes such as the annual Harlem Holiday Lights, the first cultural bonus incentive in NYC to be used to shape the future of 125th Street as a cultural destination. Working closely with NYPD bringing together 12 othr city agencies she is driving an interagency and community involvement approach that is addressing crime, homelessness, mental illness, sanitation and streetscape improvements.
She has served as the Chair of the International Downtown Association (IDA), Vice Chair and Treasurer of New York City’s BID Manager’s Association, and Chair of Manhattan Community Board #10 in Central Harlem. She is an adjunct professor at Columbia University School of International Public Policy and serves as a member of CUNY School of Public Health Dean’s Advisory Council. She has participated in a TEDTalk series, and served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Place Management and Development (United Kingdom) and Global Urban Development.
She is highly respected in the downtown management industry and her advice and sharing of best practices has been sought after in the establishment and operation of BIDs globally. Recently this has taken her to the House of Parliament in Sweden to prove the value of Business Improvement Districts. She has received many honors and awards.
Her passion is art.
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