Conference Report: Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2017

Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2017

4th Special Session – Retail aspects in Urban Geography and Urban Planning

Europe the state of play: the challenge of retail decentralisation

by Dr Steve Millington

This is the first conference report on the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2017 that took place in Boston, USA, in April 2017The growth of OOT shopping centres, which privilege car access, together with online retailing, is is now creating challenges for towns and cities on mainland Europe.  There are parallels with our findings from the HSUK2020 and #BDSU projects, with medium sized centres facing the greatest threats from the retail disinvestment and decentralisation. In this first conference report you will find

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The football stadium and place making: a case study of Manchester City

by Steve Millington*

This presentation analyses the relationship between football stadia and place. It provides an overview of football related research by IPM members, including Tim Edensor, Dominic Medway and Cathy Parker, work that has primarily focused on Manchester City Football Club.  This encompasses both theoretical and applied research, and draws on both quantitative and qualitative methods, combing participant observation, netnographies, focus groups and latterly “big data analysis” utilising Springboard’s footfall counts from the #BDSU project. Continue reading “The football stadium and place making: a case study of Manchester City”

“Unveiling the sediments of a lost landscape”: William Titley’s Demolition Street

williamtitley-slider

A collection of door knobs. Unclaimed mail. An ironing board. Through recording the evacuation of one Lancashire community, finds Steve Millington, the artist William Titley has made permanent a series of internal displacements, and the exposed the true meaning of “placelessness”…

by Dr Steve Millington

Yi Fun Tuan established the term “topophilia” in the 1970s. An awkward word, but it describes an emotion we all share, a deep attachment to place. We might express this through love for one’s country or perhaps through civic pride, but our strongest bonds are to ordinary places connecting our everyday habits and routines, what we might call home.

Home is perhaps the most important place in our lives. Beyond basic human needs of shelter and security, home is ideally a place where we can escape, be ourselves, find comfort, rest, experiment, create, laugh, dance, without too much concern about what others might think. Here we build and maintain the social relations necessary to support a sense of belonging considered essential for well-being and happiness. We only have to imagine the plight of millions of refugees who have had to leave their homes, neighbourhoods, the places where they were born, schooled, worked, ate, played, to realise how our lives might quickly untangle into a precarious state. Feeling ‘out of place’, feeling that you don’t belong can be soul destroying. Continue reading ““Unveiling the sediments of a lost landscape”: William Titley’s Demolition Street”

Conference Report: Informal housing in Europe and North America

illegal-housingThis is the second of the two conference reports by Dr Steve Millington from the Royal Geographical Society’s Annual Conference 2016.  You can also read the report on the IPM site. You can read the first conference report here.


by Steve Millington

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”

Conference Report: Managing places at risk from coastal erosion

CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=594080
CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=594080

This is the first of the two conference reports by Dr Steve Millington from the Royal Geographical Society’s Annual Conference 2016.  You can also read the report on the IPM site. You can read the second conference report on Monday, 3rd October.


by Steve Millington

In the UK one reality of climate change is accelerated coastal erosion and the impact on natural assets, farming and communities located in vulnerable locations. This raises profound questions for place management when the place in question will inevitably disappear into the sea as the coastline retreats.  Continue reading “Conference Report: Managing places at risk from coastal erosion”

Ordinary Place Making: Special Sessions at the Royal Geographical Society

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2nd September 2016, Annual International Conference of the Royal Geographical Society, 2016

Aim of the sessions

Despite the complex and multi-faceted dimensions of place making and development, critical engagements often focus on large metropolitan centres, whilst practice is informed by predominantly Western, metropolitan and professional experiences, suggesting an implicit tension arising through the privileging of social and cultural positions of both the observers and observed. Overlooked, perhaps, is the ordinary, everyday and banal sites of lived experience – the vernacular realm, neighbourhoods, small towns, the rural and informal settlement (Bell & Jayne, 2006; Edensor et al, 2010; Jones et al, 2012, Lombard, 2014). These three related sessions present inter-disciplinary research that focuses on ordinary place making, to reveal multiple, nuanced and diverse practices emergent through the lived experiences of communities engaged with attempts to inscribe place identity within their localities, exploring interconnections and conflicts arising within the nexus of professional/non-professional practices. In the first session, the tensions and disconnections between place making imaginaries, policy rhetoric and lived experience are explored through place-based case studies. The second session foregrounds critical enquiry and methodology applied to the context of everyday spaces within ordinary places, including adaptations that extend beyond physicality/materiality to generate atmosphere and engagement with multiple sensory experiences of place-making. The third session explores creative place making strategy and tactics to reveal affordances of arts and creativity as a source of inscribing place identity. Continue reading “Ordinary Place Making: Special Sessions at the Royal Geographical Society”

Meet the IPM: Interview with Dr Steve Millington

Dr. Steve Milligton
Dr. Steve Milligton

Dr Steve Millington is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University.  He is co-editor ofSpaces of Vernacular Creativity: Rethinking the Cultural Economy and Cosmopolitan Urbanism. Steve’s research focuses on ordinary and everyday place making, drawing on empirical work concerning the habitual and routine practices of football fans, household Christmas light displays and light festivals such as Blackpool Illuminations.  This research reveals contestations regarding class, taste and aesthetics, to challenge how creativity is deployed as a mechanism for revitalising declining communities and considers alternative approaches to cultural policy.  Steve is also a director of the Institute of Place Management, working directly with town and cities to help transform communities into sustainable and liveable places.  He has recently completed an ESRC project, High Street UK2020, involving 10 local centres across the UK, and is about to start a Technology Strategy Board project involving retailers, the property industry, local authorities, and trade associations, to enable these practitioners to make individual and collective decisions designed to optimise stakeholder performance and customer experience in retail centres. Continue reading “Meet the IPM: Interview with Dr Steve Millington”

Why the IPM directors are voting to stay in the EU

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

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Multifunctional Centres: a sustainable role for town and city centres

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By Rept0n1x – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7475787

by Dr Steve Millington, Nikos Ntounis, Prof Cathy Parker and Simon Quin

Executive summary [You can download the full report from the IPM site]

Whilst omni-channel retailing and the digital high street may be two of the latest talking points in the retail property industry, our towns and city centres have always been shape by a series of technological, social and political revolutions. The purpose of this report is to examine how, after many years of mono-functionality focused upon retailing, our centres are experiencing something of a renaissance, and remerging as multi-functional ones, supporting leisure and recreation, employment, tourism, heritage, culture, housing, employment, education, health and wellbeing, as well as retail. Continue reading “Multifunctional Centres: a sustainable role for town and city centres”

Association of American Geographers 2016. Conference report (Part 2)

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by Dr. Steve Millington

In the second session on creative place making Dominic Walker (University of Exeter) introduced a three projects in community place making organised by the Critical Art Ensemble http://www.critical-art.net/.  The objective of this group is to ground ideas about science and technology in places.  The projects Dominic referred to operate at different scales; the collective, the large and the individual:

These projects are confrontational, designed to provoke strong reactions as means to engaging the community in critical ideas about the function of science and technology in contemporary society Continue reading “Association of American Geographers 2016. Conference report (Part 2)”