Caio Esteves, a fellow of the Institute of Place Management, is an architect by training and a specialist in branding. He began his career as a brand manager in the furniture industry, where he stayed for four years before establishing his own agency in 2006. In 2015 he founded the first company that specializes in Place Branding in Brazil, Places for us, the company that currently runs the first Brazilian start-up certified with the social impact seal BCORP (pending). Beside the practice of Place Branding, he divides his activities between lectures and lessons about Branding/Place Branding, coordinating the first MBA place branding in the country as well as writing a book on the subject, which launched this month. Continue reading “Meet the IPM: Interview with Caio Esteves”→
Following up from our first blog entry on the normalisation of autonomous areas within urban centres, we embarked on a two week research trip in Slovenia and Denmark visiting the places in question, appreciating the communities that live and work in them, and engaging in fruitful discussions with them, as well as with the areas’ other stakeholders such as city representatives.
This blog entry is dedicated to the area of Metelkova Mesto, the semi-squatted cultural neighbourhood of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the attempts of the municipality, as well as the state of Slovenia to “broaden” the cultural zone surrounding the urban squat and create a cultural space where all stakeholders can meet and contribute to the place’s brand: apart from the autonomous squatted buildings, the city of Ljubljana operates the Museum of Contemporary Art, whereas the state of Slovenia has also founded the Ethnographic museum in the same quarter. From state, to municipal, to autonomous level, the broader cultural zone of Metelkova Mesto creates the impression of a place dedicated to the promotion of arts and culture, a valuable asset to the city and to the country itself. 
I recently came upon a very interesting (and in my opinion also very useful) document, the World Towns Framework, which begins with the following: “We shall support the unique characteristics of each town and urban district, the ‘DNA of place’, to engage communities, businesses and institutions in driving forward their future, and to address the plural and distinctive set of challenges facing these unique places.”
There are several issues I could raise here (e.g. does each town really have unique characteristics or is it the blend of characteristics that is unique? are communities, business and institutions players of the same level or are they different types of categories?), but today I’d like to ponder only the ‘DNA of place’. It is an expression that bothers me and always has. Continue reading “Places don’t have DNAs – living organisms do”→
Jon Stobart is a Fellow of the Institute of Place Management and Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research focuses on the histories of retailing and consumption, largely in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England. This involves exploring the geography, nature and timing of changes in retailing and shopping, not so much to find the origins of ‘modern’ practices as to examine the ways in which the processes of buying and selling goods related to broader social, cultural and economic contexts. In this, he is particularly interested in the spaces of consumption which shaped and were shaped by these processes: shops, high streets and towns. His research also explores consumption as ownership – an interest which involves examining the shifting place of material objects in domestic environments, especially country houses.Continue reading “Meet the IPM: Interview with Prof Jon Stobart”→
This month our new Innovate project started. The project will bring big data to town and city centre decision makers, enabling them to optimise footfall whilst also improving the experience of centre users. The first stage of the project (running from now until Spring 2017) is very research focused. Because we have over 9 years of hourly footfall data, courtesy of the project lead Springboard, the research team at the Institute of Place Management (Manchester Metropolitan University) and the University of Cardiff can really start to work out how and why town and city centres perform as they do. Our findings will then be incorporated into a place management information system and a serious of dashboard products, built by our technology partners MyKnowledgeMap.
I feel like I am trapped in one of those dreams where my predicament is getting steadily worse; more and more zombies are chasing me, causing me to fall off bigger and bigger pavements whilst I gradually lose the ability to scream out for help. Only I am not asleep. This is no night terror, this is just my day-to-day lived experience in post-referendum Britain.
How exactly did I get here? Commentators have already used other bedtime metaphors. For example, Angela McGowan, Chief Economist of Dankse Bank thought we slept-walked into all this. Nevertheless, even the staunchest Remainer didn’t predict the political chaos that has ensued after the 24th June. That’s because I think Brexit is part of a wider phenomenon, one I am terming brandaganda, which may explain why so much that we used to believe in and trust is rapidly disintegrating. Continue reading “The rise of brandganda and why so much is no longer what we thought it was”→