Last week I wrote a relatively damning piece praising
the initiatives to help stem the spread of COVID-19 that had been taken by the
central Greek government, and castigating the lack of leadership evident at a
local level across the three Municipalities responsible for the Ionian island
of Corfu. There have been a number of developments since then that have
highlighted not only how local leadership is vital at times of crisis to gather
support from the local population for any crisis response measures, but also
that grassroots initiatives must be developed in a coordinated manner.
20th March 2002
My last blog post on “The
need for local place leadership in times of crisis”
appeared on the IPM website and a range of social media on Corfu. This received
comments from local Corfiots such as: “The local council’s
response has been pitiful. There still seems to be a sense that this will all
blow over pretty soon (if only)”.
In 1862 in Berlin, the building
engineer James Hobrecht undertook the design of a ‘development plan for
Berlin’s surroundings,’ today known simply as the ‘Hobrecht Plan’. Hobrecht was
part of a broader Berlin movement, which, starting in the mid-nineteenth century
and following several epidemics of cholera, believed in the role of central planning
in sustaining and improving public health. Politicians such as medical doctor Rudolf
Virchow (1821–1902) considered contemporary sewerage, like that already seen in
parts of England, to be indispensable for the improvement of public health in
the capital. Whereas Hobrecht is mostly remembered for the 1862 Berlin
development plan, undoubtedly one of his major contributions is the
modernization of the sewerage system.
The ‘Hobrecht Plan’ provided the
outline for the development of a big part of Berlin and it is still visible
today in large areas of the inner city. It was the first complete street plan
for an expansion of the built-up area inside the municipal borders, with the
main goal to provide a street pattern for predominantly agricultural areas
around the existing city that were to be designated for construction, providing
housing for Berlin’s exploding population.
The Greek Central Government’s responses
to the Covid-19 pandemic.
19th March 2020
Just around one month on
from the first cases in Europe of people testing positive for the Covid-19
virus, Greece is now in lockdown as a preventative response to halt the spread
of the pandemic across the country that has to date infected 418 people and
claimed 6 lives. As of today, the government has made it an offence, punishable
with a 1000 Euro fine, for more than 10 people to gather in public spaces. The
Civil Protection Ministry has also advised that all non-emergency or non-vital
travel outside of the home should be limited to an absolute minimum. The
majority of retail establishments are already closed, and many other measures
have been put in place at a national level to slow the spread of the virus. We
have also heard today that of Sunday 22nd May all international
passenger flights in and out of Greece are to be cancelled.
18th March 2020
The Patriarch of the
Greek Orthodox Church bows to Government pressure and announced the closure of
all churches and the cessation of all church services. The Government had
already earlier overruled the church’s Holy Synod to enforce the of church
services of all denominations, including Greek Orthodox, until the end of this
month, despite the Orthodox church’s earlier claims about the potential
efficacy of faith and prayer against the virus.
Parts of many town and city centres have almost begun to
resemble docklands in the sense that shipping containers – sometimes singly,
sometimes stacked in different permutations – have appeared in urban space. By
transplanting these metal boxes into a different context their use has changed
– from shipping to, primarily, shopping.
This repurposing has led to a neologism – ‘cargotecture’ – to describe
the resulting architectural adaptations into shopping venues (and in many
cases, peoples’ homes). It is one manifestation of a broader concept of ‘container
urbanism’, where repurposed shipping containers become, among other things,
part of broader place-making initiatives.
“This standardisation enables a far greater flexibility, both in its original use, through incorporation into intermodal supply chains, and also through adaptive architectural re-use.”
Using shipping containers in this way is explained in part
by their flexibility and design. In one way, their design is standardised and
inflexible – Martin describes the shipping container very simply as a ‘box’ for
transporting stuff: “its size, shape and form were agreed upon, made standard,
and applied on a near universal basis”.
However, this standardisation – now widely captured in the baseline
‘twenty-foot equivalent’ (or TEU) shipping container – enables a far greater
flexibility, both in its original use, through incorporation into intermodal
supply chains (being equally part of road-based and sea-borne transportation), and
also through adaptive architectural re-use.
Indeed, a search through Google Images reveals the ingenuity and effort
expended in modifying these structures to create new spaces in which to live
Over the course of the last twenty years or so, footfall in our town centres has been falling. The decline started with the growth of out-of-town shopping and has been accelerated by the Internet. Not only does the Internet give us on-line shopping, it also offers a huge array of other services, like banking, holidays, and insurance – and, be default, many more reasons not to go to town. Finally, our politicians gave us austerity, which closed down libraries, youth centres and left even more empty buildings.
The ongoing project titled “Making and managing Ljubljana’s
urban squats: inclusive and participatory practices” (funded by the
BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants and supported by the Department for
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), investigates the way Ljubljana’s
squatted areas Metelkova and Tovarna ROG are used and managed by both the official
institutions and the communities of their respective users. It aims to appreciate
the power dynamics that emerge in their everyday running and to critically
evaluate the role that institutions play and the influence that they have
vis-à-vis these particular urban settings. In this post, we wish to offer a
brief elaboration on the spatial particularities surrounding ROG, namely its
recent recognition by the Slovenian legal system as a “quasi-public” place.
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.
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.
An arcade is “a glass covered passageway which connects two
busy streets and is lined on both sides with shops”. 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.
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.