Suzanne Holley is the president and CEO of the Downtown Center Business

Suzanne Holley is the president and CEO of the Downtown Center Business Improvement District (DCBID), a coalition of property owners committed to enhancing the quality of life in DTLA.

The Downtown Center Business Improvement District (DCBID) recently released the results of its DTLA 2020 Survey, which has been conducted since 2005 to chronicle and quantify the characters, attitudes and behaviors of DTLA’s growing population.  

The survey was conducted prior to the onset of COVID-19, and this year’s report explored new key segments of the population, which included office workers, residents with children, and arts and culture patrons.

More than 3,600 people participated in the survey, and responses were collected online and supported by extensive promotional outreach, which included email, postcards, in-person kiosk outreach across DTLA, a comprehensive social media campaign, and front-page placement on  

“The DTLA 2020 Survey helps to understand the characteristics, attitudes, preferences and behaviors of Downtown residents, workers and consumers,” said Suzanne Holley, president and CEO of the DCBID. 

“The survey breaks the greater DTLA population into specific categories, which are then queried on topics such as where they live and in what type of housing, where they spend their free time, and so forth. They are also asked more esoteric questions, such as whether or not they feel DTLA is moving in the right direction. Understanding the demographics and personal preferences of these key groups allows us to be more efficient, targeted and impactful with our Clean and Safe Programs, our business development efforts and our marketing outreach.”

The DCBID is a coalition of more than 2,000 property owners in the central business district who are committed to enhancing the quality of life in DTLA. For the past 20 years, the organization’s programs and initiatives have been the driving force behind the DTLA renaissance since 1999.

Compared to the previous year, the results from the 2020 survey show a steady positive trend in the major demographics for DTLA residents: They are young with a median age of 40, highly educated, and have an average annual household income in excess of $120,000. The survey also indicated that DTLA residents continue to be extremely committed to their community, with 80% of residents stating they are passionate about the community and 70% feel connected to their environs.

“Unique to the 2020 survey, we delved even deeper into our audiences, further dividing our core groups into smaller key segments of the population to learn more about who they are, what they do in Downtown, and why,” Holley said. 

“For instance, we learned that 83% of the ‘Family Focused’ segment, which are those that have one child or are considering children, love living in DTLA. And breaking through prior misconceptions, 45% of ‘Family Focused’ want to stay in DTLA. It is key data such as this that helps us shape our programs and attract the next wave of businesses, residents and visitors.”

The DCBID also announced the launch the DTLA Recovery Compass, a long-term tracking study of the sentiments and attitudes of people who regularly engage with DTLA to help guide recovery and economic decision making. 

“The Recovery Compass arose from our Business Engagement Program,” Holley said. “In talking to local businesses, we heard a real need for them to understand where we were in recovery—how their customers were feeling, what they were doing and what their concerns were—so that they could better and more quickly serve them. We felt that information would be valuable to us internally as we determine how we can most effectively support those folks and the recovery, how we should deploy our resources, what programs would be most impactful and what information people need.”

The first wave of the DTLA Recovery Compass launched in mid-August and the first report on the results of the responses from the first wave will be published in early October, with subsequent reports being released on a monthly basis. It will enable the DCBID to do three things that will benefit DTLA: It will help them tailor programs, services and messaging to most effectively support downtowners during the pandemic; it will inform local businesses of the best ways for them to address and cater to those same people; and it will track people’s sentiments, attitudes and behaviors as they progress on the road to recovery. 

“All of those things will also help us inspire confidence in and foster enthusiasm for DTLA, which is a key factor in driving its progress,” Holley said. 

“Consumer confidence is the most-important economic factor. This is not just about tracking the recovery; it’s about guiding and supporting it. As our survey clearly shows, downtowners are engaged and active—they care about their community and they will be the ones who drive us forward. The Recovery Compass is meant to tap into and amplify that energy and spirit.”