by Steve Millington (Institute of Place Management); Karen Findley and Martin Saker (Manchester City Council); Dave Payne (Withington Village Regeneration Partnership)
Given under lockdown people are beginning to rediscover their locality (see Gary Warnaby’s IPM blog piece), and using centres within walking distance of their homes more often, it is timely to reconsider the role and function of smaller, and specifically district centres,in recovery planning. With people noticing the health and environmental benefits of reduced commuter traffic, adding to the well-documented benefits of walking and cycling, we might now reinforce such positive developments through a commitment to strengthening centres close to people’s homes, to embed ties to localities developed during lockdown. Furthermore, IPM research into 18 district centres in Greater Manchester suggests that around 150 businesses on average are located in each one, although the largest centres accommodate over 300. With 70 smaller, significant local and suburban centres across the GM region, collectively they make a significant contribution to the local economy. Moreover, if predictions come to fruition the ‘New Normal’ will involve more people working from home, place leaders now need to think more seriously about the potential for district centres to become more than just places for convenience shopping and personal services.
Recently I was invited by You and Yours, BBC Radio 4’s daily consumer show, to talk about the problems facing INTU, owners of 17 shopping centres, including some of the UK’s largest malls, such as the Metrocentre and Trafford Centre. The interview took place a few days before lockdown, inside an already near deserted Trafford Centre, a mall that normally attracts over 31 million visitors a year.
INTU’s revenue decreased by £38.8 million in 2019 to £542.3 million. A reduction in rent receivable from the impact of CVAs and administrations, and increased vacancy appear to be the main drivers, leaving INTU with £4.5 billion debt. Whereas, in 2011, few questioned Capital Shopping Centres (INTU’s parent company) purchase of the Trafford Centre for £1.6b (at the time the UK’s largest ever property deal), given that by 2015 its market value had risen to £2.2b. However, according to the London Stock Exchange, by December 2019 its value had fallen to less than £1.7b.
by James Scott
Vandeventer, Tom Hindmarch and Steve Millington
The ‘Transforming Places from the Inside Out’ conference, sponsored by One Manchester (an IPM Partner), took place at The Studio in Manchester’s Northern Quarter on the 18th November 2019. The conference included talks from a host of experts, including IPM’s own Dr Steve Millington, as well as discussions with social housing providers and other stakeholders. The day centred on the challenges and opportunities the social housing sector faces as it increasingly adopts a place focus. Throughout, a fruitful dialogue about the intersection of place and housing generated a palpable sense that the emerging housing-place nexus is here to stay, and highlighted some areas that place management can contribute to thinking about place in the housing sector moving forward.
Area Based Collaborative Enterprise concerns the ways in which local entrepreneurs join forces and form collectives to stimulate business growth and innovation, and to create a more attractive business environment. A clear example in a UK context would be a Business Improvement District.
The project ABCities is funded by INTERREG, a programme aims to help regional and local government to develop and deliver better policy by creating opportunities for sharing solutions to ensure government investment, innovation and interventions lead to integrated and sustainable impact for people and place, by embedding new guidance and measures within existing policy for area based economic development.
The challenge, therefore, is not necessarily poor policy,
but a concern about the mechanisms and techniques used by state institutions to
deliver place based policy.
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 2017that took place in Boston, USA, in April 2017. The 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
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”→
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”→
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”→
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”→