10300 Eaton Place Suite 235 Fairfax, VA 22030

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Matthew Easley

October 9, 2023


FAIRFAX, VA – Fairfax City Mayor Catherine S. Read, along with Economic Development staff, attended the International Downtown Association (IDA) 2023 Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois, from October 4th to 6th. IDA’s annual conference brings together more than 1,400 local government and district management leaders from across the globe who are working to shape the future of cities. Attendees of the conference engaged in dynamic discussions on the latest trends in place management and leave equipped with innovative solutions to implement in their respective communities. Place management professionals work to enhance the livability of business districts to strengthen commercial corridors and centers within cities. This year, the Old Town Fairfax Business Association accompanied Fairfax City in attending IDA.

Mayor Read moderated a Top Issues Council panel, featuring Fairfax City Economic Development’s Assistant Director Matthew Easley. The panel, Scalable Innovations in Placemaking, discussed scalable placemaking initiatives applicable to both small communities and expansive urban corridors, highlighting practical approaches to enhancing urban spaces for all. Placemaking initiatives have recently been included in the newly completed economic development strategic work-plan and have provided substantial business district support to many communities as they continue to wrestle with the impacts of the pandemic.

“It is a testament to the positive development of Fairfax City that we are here to speak on placemaking initiatives,” said Mayor Catherine Read, Fairfax City Mayor. “These conferences are an important contribution to our small City which values the significance of creating and supporting interesting places. We’re pivoting from our car dependent suburban mindset to build places and we’re just getting started.”

“Cities like Fairfax – because of our size and invested leadership – can establish themselves as placemaking leaders in the district management community,” said Christopher Bruno, Fairfax City Economic Development Executive Director and CEO. “I am grateful that staff has had this opportunity to share our successes and study the future of placemaking in a way that benefits the economic development of IDA’s member districts and cities.”

“Placemaking transforms urban spaces into vibrant, thriving communities, creating a sense of belonging and purpose,” said Matthew Easley, Assistant Director of Fairfax City Economic Development. “Being able to highlight our newer placemaking initiatives especially our sudden increase of murals in Fairfax demonstrates a positive transformation towards building community and deepening connections.”


Fairfax City Economic Development is the lead agency for supporting a resilient economy and business ecosystem. The Office serves to promote, identify, and assist businesses with location, expansion, and capacity building services within the City while creating systems and programs that encourage commercial and retail development.

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