California Downtown Association’s membership is diverse, representing hundreds of small business and property owners on main streets and in the historic downtowns and business districts in rural communities of the central valley, the foothills of the Sierras, the beach communities along the northern and southern coasts, as well as the downtowns and revitalized districts located in the heart of California’s urban centers.

Thirty five percent of California Downtown Association members are the executive directors and managers of BID’s, property and business improvement districts (PBIDs) and voluntary merchant associations. These organizations range from small, shoestring organizations sustained by dedicated volunteers to million dollar organizations charting the way for emerging 24/7 urban centers. While these organizations vary in size and funding, their missions are similar: To provide support to the business and property owners whose livelihoods depend on safe, clean and visitor-friendly environments.

Another 35 percent of California Downtown Association members are economic and community development directors and staff, as well as managers of cities throughout the state. Cities throughout California are engaged in community development efforts that are reinventing downtowns to accommodate high-density live/work economies. California Downtown Association members share the best practices and innovations that are benefiting the lives of all who live, shop and seek entertainment in downtowns.

The balance of California Downtown Association membership is comprised of consultants and vendors whose companies provide services such as streetscape improvements, BID formation and management, urban planning, marketing, branding and other supporting industries.

Together, California Downtown Association members are a strong network of professionals whose work is shaping the future of our downtowns and community business districts.

California Downtown Association was initially formed – and works today – as a forum for information exchange leading to solutions to mutually shared problems to help business districts succeed.

We work together through:

  • Advocacy: by successfully lobbying in the State Legislature and assisting local districts gain legislative support
  • Collaboration: by bringing members together locally, regionally, and statewide, virtually and in-person to exchange valuable information and ideas
  • Education: from informal discussions to formal workshops webinars and conferences, covering topics of interest and benefit to participants

CDA was founded in 1971 with few scattered members. Over the past 40+ years, now representing the spectrum of improvement districts throughout California, CDA has evolved into one of the country’s strongest and most recognized business district organizations.

Member Benefits

Advocacy & Public Policy: The health of California’s business districts is directly linked to legislation proposed (and passed) by city, county and state legislative bodies. California Downtown Association is there to learn and communicate about upcoming bills to provide members the opportunity to become aware of and advocate as appropriate. CDA has been instrumental in various recent efforts to ensure that legislation meets the needs of members and our sector.

Education: The Annual Conference, our most popular and visible event offers engaging educational and networking opportunities, serving the diverse range of district entities.


  • Our member e-newsletter targets the topics and issues of most interest and concern to members. Focus is on business district news and legislation as well as upcoming events and member accomplishments.
  • The Web site features current news postings, related industry resources and links, a calendar of events and job postings and a range of supplier resources

Networking: Through the various communications channels, members can easily connect to one another, consultants, vendors and revitalization experts throughout the state.

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