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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Citizen Participation in Berlin: Haus der Statistik

Citizen participation Haus der Statistik
Haus der Statistik in Berlin
Image: De-okin (talk) 19:15, 4 March 2010 (UTC) – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9650987

by Prof Ares Kalandides

I have been researching Citizen Participation in urban development in Berlin, since 2016, when the new Berlin state government coalition signed a contract, introducing participation as one of its leading principles. When I started, I was trying to understand what the provisions of the contract were and how that could be conceptualized. Conceptualization is not just an intellectual exercise (although it is that, too): it implicitly or explicitly guides the way we think, talk and act – and also the way we design policy.

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Who really creates the place brand?

Easter in Corfu

by Dr. Heather Skinner

Skinner, H. (2018) ‘Who really creates the place brand? Considering the role of user generated content in creating and communicating a place identity’

Communication & Society, 31(4), pp. 9-24.

Some definitions the key concepts of Place Marketing and Place Branding are still unclear, and these concepts are still conceptualised variously in the extant literature as shown below:

1:         Place Marketing and Place Branding as separate and distinct constructs

2:         Place Marketing is part of Place Branding

3:         Place Branding is part of Place Marketing

4:         Place Marketing and Place Branding are separate constructs but can overlap

5:         Place Marketing = Place Branding

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Decision-making in place

Macclesfield

by Frank Olaniyi Fafiyebi

DECISION MAKING IN PLACE: GUT FEELING OR EVIDENCE?

When making decisions most managers look up and look around, relying on their support structures i.e. people close to them, not because of lack of experience but for the fear of not getting their decisions right. This act of looking up and looking around is important and it is the use of “Gut-feeling” when managers are faced with making decisions that (1) involve large capital, (2) have significant impact on the long-term plan of their organisations and (3) involves public exposure. Place managers like their counterparts in other managerial areas make decisions daily.  In place management, managers make decisions about places, particularly the public realm such as town and city centres, ensuring effective collaboration with all stakeholders, policing the centres and improving infrastructural outlook of the places they manage. Place managers by their decisions make a critical contribution to the thriving of places, and those decision impacts on people’s everyday lives in places.

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CounterCoin and Cultural Squatters in Newcastle-Under-Lyme

The weekly CounterCoin meeting at Cultural Squatters (photo credit: Jeremy Cliffe)

by Nikos Ntounis and James Scott Vandeventer

Alternative currencies have been around for many years, to the point that they can be seen as a rather old technology for dealing with societal, economic, and developmental changes. Indeed, the first forms of alternative currencies were presented during the cash-poor interwar era in Europe and the US as an attempt to incentivise spending, discourage saving, and keep local economies afloat in a time of severe unemployment, poverty, and uncertainty (NEF, 2015). Fast forward almost 90 years, and similar issues pertain to the vast majority of our cities and towns, not only in the UK, but around the world. Unsurprisingly, alternative currencies are on the rise in various forms: timebanks, time-credit systems, local exchange trading systems, complementary currencies, convertible local currencies that are backed by the national currency, etc. More recently, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have risen to prominence and gained immense political and monetary value as decentralised transactional networks that injected a huge influx of money into a new marketplace that was ready to dismiss the old system of fiat money (Matchett, 2017).

CounterCoin, a new alternative currency developed by a team of economic and social development practitioners, while still in its infancy, is already helping people make a change to the town centre of Newcastle-under-Lyme. We were recently invited to a meeting in the “headquarters” of CounterCoin, the Cultural Squatters community café in York Place shopping centre, in order to join the team spearheading the creation of this new alternative currency. Continue reading “CounterCoin and Cultural Squatters in Newcastle-Under-Lyme”

Gamification in tourism through geocaching

https://www.geocaching.com/play

Skinner, H., Sarpong, D., and White, G.R.T. (2018), ‘Meeting the needs of the Millennials and Generation Z: gamification in tourism through geocaching’, Journal of Tourism Futures, 4(1), pp.93-104.

By Dr Heather Skinner

Have you heard of the location-based sport of ‘geocaching’? No, I hadn’t either until a chance conversation with a colleague at the University of Glamorgan back when I was working full-time in the UK. This led to a really interesting (if long) research journey that resulted in the publication of this paper in the Journal of Tourism Futures. But, like all good stories it must have a beginning, so if you’re sitting comfortably, I will begin. Continue reading “Gamification in tourism through geocaching”

European fund to improve town centre policy

Norther Quarter, Manchester
By Mikey from Wythenshawe, Manchester, UK – High Street, Manchester, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34807477

Manchester is one of five European regions set to benefit from a new European fund designed to help regional and local governments to develop and deliver better town centre policy.

The Institute of Place Management (IPM) at Manchester Metropolitan University will utilise part of a £1.5 million grant from the European funding body Interreg, to investigate how companies, councils and other local groups can work together more effectively to improve their town centres.  One of the major outcomes of the work will be a nationwide audit of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and their achievements.

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What can culture and the arts do for a place? 

by Gareth Roberts

As our members will know, at IPM we spend much of our time conducting research into how we can make better places. Much of this work focuses on the high street, and whilst our towns and cities are clearly operating in a challenging environment, we are always keen to point out that this challenge does not signal their demise. Rather, it is reflective of a shift in how we use them, with retail no longer the critical fulcrum it once was, and it is down to place managers to develop the means of capitalising on this change in demand.

As this realisation sets in, towns and cities are increasingly looking for ways to complement their retail offer, encouraging visitors through other means. One way this is being done is through the development of a cultural offering. This is nothing new – planners and policy makers began to espouse the development of cultural activity in the early 1990s as a means of revitalising cities in the process of de-industrialisation[i], encouraging the rise of the ‘experience economy’[ii]. As a result, culture has, over time, become an increasingly common means of consuming a city[iii]. Continue reading “What can culture and the arts do for a place? “

Exploring theoretical trends in placemaking

Placemakingby Wessel Strydom, Karen Puren and Ernst Drewes

Our contribution to the recent special issue of the Journal of Place Management and Development on Participatory Placemaking, is an exploration of the theoretical trends in placemaking literature. Our paper “Exploring theoretical trends in placemaking: Towards new perspectives in spatial planning” follows Prof. Kalandides’ lead article, which proposes a disambiguation of the term ‘participation’. The two papers together constitute the theoretical framework of the special issue.

The paper aims to understand and describe the development of placemaking in spatial planning. Placemaking is a multi-disciplinary concept including Architecture, Spatial Planning, Geography, Ecology, Tourism, Art, Education and Nursing. Exploring the term “placemaking” from a multitude of viewpoints will allow developing an in-depth understanding of the concept in order to conceptualise global trends with regard to the topic. This exploration is informed by conducting an Integrative Literature Review (ILR). ILR aims at providing an exhaustive description of available research contributions. This exhaustive description includes both theoretical and empirical studies. Appropriate contributions are further explored by following a thematic content analysis and thematic synthesis method. From the thematic content analysis and synthesis, themes and sub-themes can be constructed. These themes and sub-themes are utilised to uncover global trends in research literature. By conceptualising trends, the construction of a comprehensive definition regarding the search-term is possible. Continue reading “Exploring theoretical trends in placemaking”

Taking evidence-based policy seriously

Evidence-based policy

by Prof Ares Kalandides

Evidence-based policy‘ has been a catchword in politics for some time now. It was allegedly coined by the Blair government, which aimed to design policy driven less by ideology and more by scientific evidence. Two decades later the term is still going strong, with calls for ‘evidence-based’ policy being the norm rather than the exception. However, both the terms ‘evidence’ and ‘scientific’ need some clarification when we’re talking about the social sciences, if we want to take evidence-based urban policy seriously. Continue reading “Taking evidence-based policy seriously”