Gentrification, autonomy, and the cultural space: 23 years of Metelkova Mesto

The institutional part of Metelkova – as seen from the rooftop of the +MSUM. Photo: Nikos Ntounis
The institutional part of Metelkova – as seen from the rooftop of the +MSUM. Photo: Nikos Ntounis

by Jenny Kanellopoulou and Nikos Ntounis

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. [1]

Continue reading “Gentrification, autonomy, and the cultural space: 23 years of Metelkova Mesto”

The 39 steps – to understanding High Street performance – Part 2

Infographic-website_900x900by Prof Cathy Parker

In last week’s blog post I mentioned the 39 research questions of our new Innovate project. Here is some more detailed information about them:

RQ1: Are the distinct town types (comparison, specialty, convenience/community) recognisable in a bigger data set?

Preliminary research strongly indicates the existence of distinct footfall signatures. But these were originally identified in our pilot data set of 50 towns, using footfall data that ended in 2014.  Now we have more towns and data spanning 2006-2016 can we find additional evidence of the town types we originally identified? If so we will conclude the typology is robust – in other words it is generalisable to a bigger sample. Continue reading “The 39 steps – to understanding High Street performance – Part 2”

The 39 steps – to understanding High Street performance – Part 1

Infographic-website_900x900This 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.

These new products will support decision making in towns and cities, by making important data more readily available and more easily accessible to the wide range of stakeholders who need to collaborate to build strong centres. Continue reading “The 39 steps – to understanding High Street performance – Part 1”

Footfall signatures research wins best paper prize

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Nikos Ntounis shows off our best paper prize at this year’s AM conference

by Prof Cathy Parker

Our new £1m Innovate high street and retail project may have just started, but the research underpinning our successful bid for the£1m ‘bringing big data to small users’ project has been awarded a ‘best in track’ prize for retail at this year’s Academy of Marketing Conference, held at Newcastle Business School.

The research identified new footfall signatures and town types the team had found in their preliminary analysis of footfall data, provided by Springboard, who are leading the new project.  The findings were presented in a competitive paper “Radical Marketing and the UK High Street: Towards a New Typology of Towns” authored by Cathy Parker, Nikos Ntounis, Simon Quin and Ed Dargan. Continue reading “Footfall signatures research wins best paper prize”

Evolution of country brand research: Studies on Brazil’s brand image

Brasil 1

by Fabiana Gondim Mariutti*

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”

Performing identity and place-imaging

PLATT VIsualby Louise Platt*

The research community within the IPM is constantly challenging how we think about place and what place means. I am concerned about people (and even their non-human companions!) in places. I have long struggled, as many academics have, with the idea of place-making and the queasy notion of wading into communities and suggesting that these places can be ‘better’. My own PhD research examined communities how they shape their own identities through drawing or resisting place-imaging projects. By spending time with community groups and undertaking participant observation at official and unofficial Liverpool Capital of Culture events (both during and after 2008) I was able to understand how local people performed identities which related to their sense of belonging to their neighbourhoods and the wider city. It considered the balance between creative improvisation and the constraints of social and cultural norms in forming identities.

Continue reading “Performing identity and place-imaging”

Improving the customer experience in retail: Bringing big data to small users

Infographic-website_900x900IPM is part of a new £1m consortium, co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, which will improve the customer experience on the UK High Street.

The project, led by retail intelligence specialists (Springboard), is a partnership between IPM and retail and IS researchers (Manchester Metropolitan University), big data and computing experts (Cardiff University), technology designers and usability experts (MyKnowledgeMap), retail property owners/managers (BCSC, New River Retail and National Association of British Market Authorities), retailers and pop-up (National Market Traders Federation and PinPointer), High Streets (Ayr, Ballymena, Bristol, Congleton, Holmfirth, Morley and Wrexham) and policy experts (Association of Town and City Management). Continue reading “Improving the customer experience in retail: Bringing big data to small users”

Working together for stronger towns

Oxford_High_Street_shoppersby Prof Cathy Parker

On the 4th July 2016 I was invited to take part in the inaugural Oxfordshire High Streets Conference.  I  am saying inaugural as the delegates found the day very useful so we hope there will be another one! As a place management scholar, there is nothing better than sharing place insight and debating its relevance, in a local context. As a researcher, I get to know a lot about problems and I get to know my data intimately.   But, my work tends to be read by academics and other people who also focus on the data/problem side of things.  This means I don’t always connect with the people who want to put our research findings into practice.  To get the opportunity to present our research on footfall signatures at the event was especially rewarding.  Having the chance to hear directly from representatives of towns that feel their centre’s profile is changing from one of comparison shopping to one that is more focused on community retail and services, for example, was really useful.  I got a chance to take part in the important debate about what this change means ‘on the ground’, in terms of managing the offer, attracting the right type of businesses, changing opening hours and communicating all these changes in the community. Continue reading “Working together for stronger towns”

Using data from geo-tagging to map the Happy City

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by Irina Shafranskaya*

Photo-sharing is currently becoming a huge part of social media activity. Several applications, with Instagram the most popular among them, represent people’s emotions. Such data pose new challenges for city data analysts as a lot of pictures are geo-tagged. City representation via images is not a new topic; it seems to us that Antonioni was one of the first with his “Blow-up”, who tried to catch the place by a camera click in his 1966 film Blowup. The digital era just brings new insights – as Ames and Naaman (2007) argued. Instagram covers additional aspects of this representation as sociality and functionality – we geo-tag places to give a special social signal of the places’ livability and share our emotional state-of-the-moment. Continue reading “Using data from geo-tagging to map the Happy City”

How squatted areas become ‘normalised’ city elements: place branding, place marketing, and the law

Photo source: News Øresund - Peter Mulvany ©
Christiania. Photo source: News Øresund – Peter Mulvany ©

by Jenny Kanellopoulou* & Nikos Ntounis**

“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”