Business improvement districts (BIDs) are self-assessment districts that are initiated and governed by property or business owners and authorized by governments to operate in designated urban and suburban geographic areas. The term BID is used for both the designated area that receives special services and the organization that governs and provides services to the area. * It is estimated that there are somewhere between 800 and 1,200 BIDs in the United States and Canada as of the writing of this chapter; they are particularly popular in large metropolitan areas, such as Toronto, Los Angeles, New York City, and Philadelphia (Houstoun, 2003; Mitchell, 1999; Ross and Levine, 2001). Great Britain, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Serbia, Albania, and Jamaica have adopted the principles and organizational forms of BIDs or BID-like entities since the early 1980s; in Germany, Austria, and Holland, BID-enabling legislation is being considered (Hoyt, 2003; see also the chapter by Hoyt in this volume).