Labour’s 5-point plan to save the high street scores 2 points

by Prof Cathy Parker

Last Wednesday, 26th September, at the Labour Party Conference, Rebecca Long Bailey, Shadow Business Secretary announced Labour’s emergency 5-point plan “to save Britain’s high streets”.

In this blog article I look at each part of the plan, and evaluate its likely impact on the high street. Where I think something can really help transform the high street, I award it a point. If I don’t think it will make a difference, then I don’t award any points. Continue reading “Labour’s 5-point plan to save the high street scores 2 points”

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.

Continue reading “European fund to improve town centre policy”

TEDx Macclesfield event: Building community; strengthening places

community place
Photo: Simon Brown

By Chloe Steadman,

Over recent years, TED talks have become something of a global phenomenon; showcasing the work of the brightest brains from all over the World through their series of short, powerful presentations covering a whole host of topics. On 28th April 2018, Macclesfield, in North West England and close to IPM headquarters, hosted their own TEDx event to showcase just some of the forward-thinking ideas, research, and experiences from those with personal connections to the town. In TED’s spirit of ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’, TEDx Macclesfield connects people with a shared link to Macclesfield to spark conversations, share ideas, and help to collectively make positive changes to the town at a local level. The event was organised by Lynne Jones and Jude D’Souza with help from enthusiastic local volunteers. Jones explained the importance of holding such a renowned event in the town:

Macclesfield (as perhaps any town) is grappling with a number of big issues – town centre regeneration, mental health service provision, local governance and democracy, supporting start-up businesses, and of course Brexit – but there are fewer public forums where real engagement can take place and ideas can be shared locally… The more of us who put something in, however small, the greater the sense connection and the stronger the community becomes. The danger is that we are living in silos more than ever, not hearing from those who hold different views…”

This event was about dismantling such silos, and creating a platform for cultivating a network of local people with a shared passion for making Macclesfield a more thriving place to live, work, and dwell. The event was a complete sell-out, with an audience of 100 local people gathering in Townley Street Chapel- a community hub in Macclesfield. Although the speakers covered a diverse range of topics, the presentations were threaded together by the common theme of how collaboration is key– something which is integral for generating any place’s vitality and viability.

Continue reading “TEDx Macclesfield event: Building community; strengthening places”

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? “

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”

Power of Place: Carlisle

Carlisle Town Hall
Carlisle Town Hall

by Prof Cathy Parker*

On 11th May 2016 I was invited by Cumbria Business Interaction Centre, part of the University of Cumbria, to talk about local distinctiveness and growth for Carlisle to a small group of 10 local business owners, council officers and university staff. My evidence credentials were our ESRC-funded High Street UK 2020 project findings and new initial footfall research from the InnovateUK-funded place data science project, “Bringing Big Data to Small Users“. Continue reading “Power of Place: Carlisle”

Maintaining a vibrant Harrogate town centre

Betty's Tea Rooms Harrogate
Betty’s Tea Rooms Harrogate

by Prof Cathy Parker*

9th May 2016 I was invited to share the findings of our ESRC-funded High Street UK2020research at the 120th AGM of the Harrogate Chamber of Commerce.

Also presenting the future of transport for Harrogate was Cllr Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire County Council and Cllr Rebecca Burnett, Harrogate Borough Council, provided an update on the Harrogate town centre strategy & masterplan.

About 130 people gave up an hour and half of their evening to hear how retail centres across the UK are changing and how Harrogate is planning to adapt. Continue reading “Maintaining a vibrant Harrogate town centre”

Help us improve place management data and decision making for you. New MMUBS research study needs your expertise

Decision-making

How is data informing town-centre decisions?

[If you are interested in taking part in this research then please email Dr Costas Theodoridis for more details.]

Everyday, place managers make numerous decisions of micro and macro level importance. From deciding the optimum time for street cleaning to developing local economic strategy, the job of ensuring a town centre thrives in such a complex environment is a very complicated one.

In a new study, funded by Manchester Metropolitan University and supported by the Institute of Place Management, Dr Costas Theodoridisand Dr Oliver Kayas aim to understand how place managers make decisions by exploring the process and the content of their decision-making. They will explore what data place managers use to inform their decisions and how they transform that data into knowledge that can become intellectual capital for their town centres. In doing so, they will also investigate the analytical skills place managers possess and identify any areas that need supporting, across the sector as a whole.

Finally, the study will identify opportunities for partnership and collaboration between place managers (as data end-users), industry and public sector (as data providers).

Absolute confidentiality is guaranteed – but your participation will help improve town-centre decision making and ensure more evidence is available to support you in the future.


If you are interested in taking part in this research then please email Dr Costas Theodoridis for more details.

 

Markets Matter: Reviewing the evidence & detecting the market effect

 

Berwick_street_market_1

Executive Summary

At the request of the National Association of British Market Authorities and, as part of the High Street UK2020 project, we have conducted a comprehensive review of the published evidence demonstrating, unequivocally, that markets contribute to the economic, social and political health of towns and cities. We have also conducted analyses of large footfall datasets, provided by Springboard, to show that markets add to the vitality of specific centres. Finally, we show how markets act as important catalysts for change in town and city centres. These are the 25 most important reasons why markets matter, identified in this report.

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

Continue reading “Markets Matter: Reviewing the evidence & detecting the market effect”

IPM Study Trip to Berlin 2nd – 4th June, 2016

Berlin_Museumsinsel_Fernsehturm-2-This 3-day accredited educational trip to Berlin is a combination of site visits, lectures & workshops as well as meetings with local place managers (local partnerships, markets, town centre management, local initiatives, local tourism etc.).

[You can find out more about courses at the IPM by visiting the IPM website.]

The Study Tour will be hosted by Dr Ares Kalandides, Professor Cathy Parker and Simon Quin. It takes place in cooperation with New York University, Berlin (NYU Berlin).

For more information please contact Ares Kalandides: ares@placemanagement.org

Expected outcomes

Continue reading “IPM Study Trip to Berlin 2nd – 4th June, 2016”