Informal housing is often seen as a defining characteristic of cities in the Global South, but housing problems in US and European cities is producing both practices and policy responses, which begin to question the nature of housing tenure in places where formal housing provision is considered the norm.
This is not to say informal housing is new to the Global North, indeed poorer groups in society have for a long time become subject to informal, illegal and temporary forms of tenure. But, housing shortages and affordability is beginning to expose a broader range of social groups to informal housing. Does this represent this transposition of the culture of informal dwellings form the Global North to the Global South? In other words, can we expect “shanty” style housing to emerge in European and American cities? Continue reading “Conference Report: Informal housing in Europe and North America”→
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 ‘placeDNA’, 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 ‘place DNA’. It is an expression that bothers me and always has. Continue reading “Places don’t have DNAs – living organisms do”→
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”→
The image of a country can be perceived internationally by means of a plethora of dimensions: associations, impressions, beliefs, representations, schemes, feelings, interactions, experiences, inter alia. Dimensions of a country brand are undoubtedly multifaceted – social, cultural, economic, political, environmental, behavioural – as several participants are involved internally and externally. Additionally, the main five complexities of the country brand are the following: stakeholder-related issues; government involvement; interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary opportunities, and potential nation brand models. Furthermore, the temporal dimension plays an intrinsic role. In view of this complex scenario, research in regards to country brand image can be undertaken by two approaches – academically or by consultancy indexes. Evidently, academic research focuses on theoretical and methodological advances, creating new conceptual frameworks and appropriate philosophies. The country brand indexes developed by specialized consultancies are often based on global real-data available from worldwide institutions. Continue reading “Evolution of country brand research: Studies on Brazil’s brand image”→
How do you start a place branding project in new real estate development projects from ground zero? Where do you find the identity that will guide such a process? How do you develop a place branding strategy with authenticity and not as a form of marketing, limited to “selling” a place?
In this article I’ll share an experience from a new real estate development project that involves place branding, placemaking and community engagement in São Paulo, Brazil, called Bairro da Gente/ Aeroclube (Our Neighborhood / Flying Club). The project takes place in Limeira, a municipality of a 300,000 inhabitants in the São Paulo state. This greenfield placemaking project has a unique feature: it is a project for a low-income population, otherwise usually limited to monotonous and faceless housing projects, that ignore differences between people and groups. This specific approach uses the cities-for-people thought, propagated by Jan Gehl, Kent, White, Jacobs and others. Bairro da Gente is based on three principles: mixed income, multiple purposes and cultural as well as housing diversity. The goal of this triptych is to create places of new centralities. The existence of income-generating elements inside the neighbourhood, (job and entrepreneurial opportunities, technical education, creative and solidary economy) resulting from an approach that encourages mixed uses, decreases the commuting of residents from the outskirts to central areas. This also contributes directly to people’s quality of life and indirectly to the region traffic. Continue reading “Place Branding and new real estate entreprises in São Paulo, Brazil”→
A bizarre piece of news caught my attention recently: A Kosovarian family was allegedly denied citizenship in Switzerland, not for failing to comply with the formal requirements, but for not adapting to the local norms. The transgressions (according to the article) were that the family wore tracksuits instead of jeans and that they did not greet people in passing. If this is true, it sheds a strange light on the very concept of community, which thus appears inward-looking, conservative and exclusive.
Indeed, I find it increasingly difficult to think of the concept in other terms and I believe we should be careful if we want to use it in any meaningful way. Community, the way I understand it, is first of all a group of people who share something – an idea, a common feature or a place. Place in particular is generally entangled in a strong imagery of belonging (communities are groups of people linked to each other through their belonging to a place), though we can clearly think of non place-based communities (internationalism was founded on exactly this idea). I see several problems related to the above.
With the UK moving fast towards the referendum to stay in or leave the EU, we at the Institute of Place Management decided to join our voices with others. As the campaign is becoming increasingly irrational what we can only offer here are our own personal views.
‘The IPM believes Britain remaining in Europe is in the interests of all European places, and their management and development. Here is what the IPM Directors have to say on the matter, all of whom have extensive experience of working with place management practitioners.’ Prof Dominic Medway
Following the publication of the draft World Towns Agreement for discussion and adoption at the World Towns Leadership Summit on 15th & 16th June in Edinburgh, Professor Gary Warnaby FIPM (Institute of Place Management and University of Manchester) and Professor Cathy Parker SFIPM (Institute of Place Management and Manchester Metropolitan University) have published a response on behalf of the Institute. Continue reading “IPM response to draft World Towns Agreement”→
“Squatting” in an urban context is more often than not associated with groups of people occupying a place in order to claim rights and liberties outside the realms of “mainstream” society. There is no doubt that the residents and occupiers of these places are operating outside the law, outside municipal or state regulation, and even outside the aesthetics prescribed by the “mainstream” they wish to avoid. What happens however, when the mainstream-disturbing squat acquires a “brand” of its own and moves beyond the borders of nuisance to become a well-known attraction? Continue reading “How squatted areas become ‘normalised’ city elements: place branding, place marketing, and the law”→