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
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.
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,
and a network of 26 designated social enterprise places,
whereas Scotland is advocating Community Improvement Districts. Most celebrated, perhaps, is The Preston
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.
In my article “Fête de la Soupe”: Rural identity, self-representation, and the (re)-making of the village in France, I report on the time I spent during my dissertation fieldwork in a village in Auvergne. While working on understanding local heritage management strategies and the ways in which villagers get attached to the place they inhabit and perceive changes in their everyday rural landscape, I had the chance to follow the planning of various local activities and take part in community events. Considered from the outside, winter in Auvergne might seem like an inhospitable time, when nature is at rest, the atmosphere humid and muffled, and the horizon often shortened by heavy fog. But Charroux proved that assumption to be wrong. The annual Fête de la Soupe -or soup festival- gave me an opportunity to watch a community in action as it promoted itself and displayed its idea of what it means to be a rural locality in today’s France. The present study aims at understanding how the communal preparation and consumption of soup once a year has affected festival participants, they relationship with each other and their relationship with the place they inhabit.
The papers in this special issue are another valuable contribution to the examination of festivals and events beyond their economic and business application and benefits. The issue further explores the close link festivals have with the communities that support and engage with them and further emphasize the value and importance of the places where they are delivered. This sense of place and community involvement is a key driver in critical event studies (Lamond and Platt, 2016). The role that events and festivals (from sporting mega-events to annual arts festivals) play in place branding has been well documented (Herstein and Berger, 2014; Lee and Arcodia, 2011; Derrett, 2004; Jago et al., 2003). Further, the role of event-led policy in shaping urban regeneration strategy making has also received widespread attention (Foley et al., 2012; Richards and Palmer, 2010; Smith, 2012). However, as Richards (2017) suggests, we are seeing a shift in the understanding of the value of events from a branding function to a more holistic placemaking function. Indeed, de Brito and Richards (2017) acknowledge the tensions between bottom-up placemaking process that originates in communities and, more top-down, state-led interventions using major events.
Placemaking is an established practice and research field. Sustainability Citizenship is an emerging concept that tries to understand the different socio-cultural dimensions used in the creation of places, but with a particular focus on: sustainability, social, environmental and/or economic means in the realisation of space(s), created from the bottom up. In our contribution for the special issue of the Journal of Place Management and Development on participatory placemaking, with the title“From placemaking to sustainability citizenship: An evolution in the understanding of community realised public spaces in Bogotá’s informal settlements” (https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-06-2017-0051), we discuss “sustainability citizenship” and how it may be a more appropriate concept to understand how urban space is created and transform in informal settlements in Latin America, taking as a example, barrios of Bogotá.
Sustainability citizenship and placemaking are linked through their “process-driven” approach to realising places and use of the citizenry to enact change. In Informal settlements, public spaces are created outside formal planning processes through alternative path dependencies and the resourcefulness of its citizens. Sustainability citizenship, rather than placemaking, can work outside formal planning systems and manoeuvre around established path dependencies, which offers an evolutionary step in the creation and understanding of community realised places in the global south. Continue reading “From Placemaking to Sustainability Citizenship”→
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”→
In the history of urban planning, we have seen regular paradigm shifts that often reflect broader societal developments as much as disciplinary trends and fashions. Few feuds in the discipline have reached the emblematic status that had the one between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs about the future of New York city in the 1960s: Moses, the powerful planner, on the one hand, who believed that only a destruction of the existing structures could lead to better city, and Jacobs, the journalist-turned-activist, on the other, who wanted to protect precisely what the first one sought to extinguish. Jacobs firmly believed that it was the lively streets of her beloved Greenwich Village, the mix of cultures and lifestyles and the animated grittiness of the public space that made cities worth living in.
Journal of Place Management and Development, Volume 11, Issue 2: Special Issue: “Participatory placemaking: concepts, methods and practice”. Editor: Ares Kalandides
Members of the IPM can download the articles for free here.
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”→