Naked Yoga on the Beach

Labyrinth on Arillas Beach, Corfu. Image: Green Corfu

by Dr Heather Skinner and Pepé Soomers

In a special issue of the International Journal of Tourism Anthropology focusing on “Niche Tourism and Residents’ Well-Being in Island Destinations” Dr Heather Skinner, IPM Senior Fellow and Chair of the IPM’s Visiting Places Special Interest Group, and Pepé Soomers, an independent researcher and member of the spiritual community in the small village of Arillas situated in the North West of the Greek island of Corfu, have written an article based on their research into the way spiritual tourism has had a transformational effect on the place and its residents.

Skinner, H. and Soomers, P. (2019) ‘Spiritual tourism on the island of Corfu: Positive impacts of niche tourism versus the challenges of contested space’ International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 7(10), pp. 21-39. DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2019.098099

Corfu is a relatively small island, only 64km in length and 32km at its widest point, with a permanent resident population of around 120,000, 40% of which live in the main town. The island, situated between the East of the boot of Italy, and West of the border between Greece and Albania, has attracted tourists since the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, since the boom time of the 1980s and early 1990s there has been a decline in numbers of tourists visiting the island. Those that do visit, especially those taking All-Inclusive packages, are spending less time and money in local tourism-related businesses such as restaurants, tavernas, bars and shops. The tourist season that used to see resorts all across the island full of holidaymakers from April to October is now basically reduced to the high season of July and August in many places.

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Place management and housing: Insights and future directions

Housing in Ancoats, Manchester. Photo by Matt from Manchester, England – Flash Ancoats, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3549444

by James Scott Vandeventer, Tom Hindmarch and Steve Millington

The ‘Transforming Places from the Inside Out’ conference, sponsored by One Manchester (an IPM Partner), took place at The Studio in Manchester’s Northern Quarter on the 18th November 2019. The conference included talks from a host of experts, including IPM’s own Dr Steve Millington, as well as discussions with social housing providers and other stakeholders. The day centred on the challenges and opportunities the social housing sector faces as it increasingly adopts a place focus. Throughout, a fruitful dialogue about the intersection of place and housing generated a palpable sense that the emerging housing-place nexus is here to stay, and highlighted some areas that place management can contribute to thinking about place in the housing sector moving forward.

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Place Management and the Victorian arcade?

Galerie Colbert, Paris. Image by Benh LIEU SONG – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3813548

by Prof Gary Warnaby

An arcade is “a glass covered passageway which connects two busy streets and is lined on both sides with shops”[1].  First developed in Paris in the late eighteenth century, arcades were a key element of the European retail and urban environment by the mid-nineteenth century. They were regarded as symbols of modernity and vitality because of their innovative use of architectural design, building materials and techniques, and they contributed to a wider process of civic boosterism of the Victorian city[2]. However, according to MacKeith, by the start of the twentieth century, the arcade’s heyday was already passing, with those constructed in the early twentieth century being smaller and less architecturally ambitious than their nineteenth century predecessors, and furthermore, arcades were often marginalised in new post-war shopping development schemes[3]

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Understanding Responsible Tourism

Overtourism
Amsterdam: One of the cities in Europe trying to push back against overtourism

by Dr Heather Skinner

While the term “responsible tourism” is widely used these days, are we really sure we understand what the term means, and who is actually “responsible”? This article will address both of these questions, along with some related issues concerning tourism ethics and the concept of sustainability. While it has been recognised that, for tourism businesses, responsibility is seen to encompass ethics and sustainability, there remains little written about these issues[1]. It is also important to note that many tourism businesses are Small and Medium Sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs) whose business focus is not always on such matters, especially in a highly competitive and crowded market, in times of continuing financial crisis or constraint.

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Funding towns: Good policy or electioneering?

Cathy Parker

By Prof Cathy Parker

Whilst the current political and economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit is generating division and negativity at a national level, there have been a lot of new policy announcements recently that are, paradoxically, good news for local town centres and high streets.

The Budget of October 2018 promised to cut the business rate bills of small retailers by one-third; a package that is worth nearly £1bn[1].  At the same time, the £675m Future High Streets Fund was launched to support the transformation of England’s high streets, from mono-functional retail centres to multifunctional community hubs. The October 2018 Budget also announced the creation of a High Streets Task Force, to provide much-needed expertise, training, data and insight to the place leaders and partnerships that are reinventing their local areas, with a budget of just over £8.6m for 5 years. The Institute of Place Management is leading a consortium of partners to run the High Street Task Force, which will be fully operational by July 2020.

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‘Best practices’ and the survivorship bias

by Prof Ares Kalandides

Collecting, analysing and sharing Best Practices, i.e. examples of projects, policies, cases, etc. that have worked out in one place and could be applied to others, is a very common practice in Place Management. It is argued that people and organizations in one place can learn from the experiences of their counterparts in another and that, after considering their adaptability, can apply similar techniques in their own context. This seems like a reasonable assumption: while we mostly learn from our own experiences, and psychologists have demonstrated the validity of this argument, we do take into consideration what other people have experienced elsewhere, albeit marginally.

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Successful collective interventions to ‘future-proof’ town and city centres

Urban stakeholders are increasingly realising the importance of collective action in attempts to ‘future proof’ town and city centres, to ensure that ‘their’ centre retains an important role in the economic and social life of associated communities.  Such collective actions, often implemented under the aegis of urban management partnerships (UMPs), raise some key questions for these organisations: what type(s) of collective interventions are the most effective; and how to create sufficient support for them? 

In 2017-18, a research project, led by the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and funded by Shopping Tomorrow (a Dutch retail and e-commerce think-tank), which comprised an expert group containing a number of IPM researchers and members, tried to answer these questions.  Specifically, the research – which analysed a variety of different types of interventions in 21 towns and cities across the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK – sought to identify and illustrate the factors that underpin successful collective interventions aimed at ’future-proofing’ town and city centres.

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What is Area Based Collaborative Entreprise?

Los Angeles Fashion District. A case of place-based business collaboration. Image by Dr. Blofeld – openstreetmap.org, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10368737

by Steve Milligton

Area Based Collaborative Enterprise concerns the ways in which local entrepreneurs join forces and form collectives to stimulate business growth and innovation, and to create a more attractive business environment.  A clear example in a UK context would be a Business Improvement District.

The project ABCities is funded by INTERREG, a programme aims to help regional and local government to develop and deliver better policy by creating opportunities for sharing solutions to ensure government investment, innovation and interventions lead to integrated and sustainable impact for people and place, by embedding new guidance and measures within existing policy for area based economic development.

The challenge, therefore, is not necessarily poor policy, but a concern about the mechanisms and techniques used by state institutions to deliver place based policy.

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Co-operative place-making in Rochdale

Rochdale Pionners Museum

Guest article by Cécile Berranger

With growing concern about global inequality, there has been an international resurgence of co-operative and community-focused projects and initiatives. The UK, however, offers a particularly interesting context.  Subject to prolonged austerity measures, the capacity of local government to intervene in local development has been drastically undermined. With growing inequality and a pressing need to fill the gaps in under-served communities, local authorities in many places are beginning to abandon their paternalistic top-down approach, and to experiment with new and alternative organisational forms of place management.

Increasingly Business Improvement Districts are taking over responsibility for town and city management, with over 300 now established. There are 471,000 social enterprises across the country, employing 1.44 million people[1], and a network of 26 designated social enterprise places[2], whereas Scotland is advocating Community Improvement Districts[3].  Most celebrated, perhaps, is The Preston Model[4], developed by Preston City Council and the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), which has reformed local government procurement to enable key locally embedded “anchor” institutions to run local services. The model is designed to recapture investment and circulate local wealth within the local economy. Where gaps in provision remain, CLES suggests the formation of new worker co-operatives.

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Report on the 6th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places

Photographer: Ian Southerin, Location Photography
Photographer: Ian Southerin, Location Photography

by Dr Heather Skinner

We have recently said goodbye to all the delegates who attended this year’s 6th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places. What am amazing group of people, all inspired to discuss various aspects of place management and marketing.

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