The epidemics behind urban planning: The foundations

Hobrecht Plan

By Prof Ares Kalandides

In 1862 in Berlin, the building engineer James Hobrecht undertook the design of a ‘development plan for Berlin’s surroundings,’ today known simply as the ‘Hobrecht Plan’. Hobrecht was part of a broader Berlin movement, which, starting in the mid-nineteenth century and following several epidemics of cholera, believed in the role of central planning in sustaining and improving public health. Politicians such as medical doctor Rudolf Virchow (1821–1902) considered contemporary sewerage, like that already seen in parts of England, to be indispensable for the improvement of public health in the capital. Whereas Hobrecht is mostly remembered for the 1862 Berlin development plan, undoubtedly one of his major contributions is the modernization of the sewerage system.

The ‘Hobrecht Plan’ provided the outline for the development of a big part of Berlin and it is still visible today in large areas of the inner city. It was the first complete street plan for an expansion of the built-up area inside the municipal borders, with the main goal to provide a street pattern for predominantly agricultural areas around the existing city that were to be designated for construction, providing housing for Berlin’s exploding population.

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The need for local place leadership in times of crisis

Figure: Pierart dou Tielt (fl. 1340-1360) – http://balat.kikirpa.be/photo.php?path=X004175&objnr=20049662, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64384803

by Heather Skinner

The Greek Central Government’s responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

19th March 2020

Just around one month on from the first cases in Europe of people testing positive for the Covid-19 virus, Greece is now in lockdown as a preventative response to halt the spread of the pandemic across the country that has to date infected 418 people and claimed 6 lives. As of today, the government has made it an offence, punishable with a 1000 Euro fine, for more than 10 people to gather in public spaces. The Civil Protection Ministry has also advised that all non-emergency or non-vital travel outside of the home should be limited to an absolute minimum. The majority of retail establishments are already closed, and many other measures have been put in place at a national level to slow the spread of the virus. We have also heard today that of Sunday 22nd May all international passenger flights in and out of Greece are to be cancelled.

18th March 2020

The Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church bows to Government pressure and announced the closure of all churches and the cessation of all church services. The Government had already earlier overruled the church’s Holy Synod to enforce the of church services of all denominations, including Greek Orthodox, until the end of this month, despite the Orthodox church’s earlier claims about the potential efficacy of faith and prayer against the virus.

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Containing ‘places’?

Hatch, Oxford Road, Manchester

By Prof Gary Warnaby

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”[1]. 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 and work. 

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“Live above shops, not in them!”

by Prof Cathy Parker

Over the course of the last twenty years or so, footfall in our town centres has been falling. The decline started with the growth of out-of-town shopping and has been accelerated by the Internet. Not only does the Internet give us on-line shopping, it also offers a huge array of other services, like banking, holidays, and insurance – and, be default, many more reasons not to go to town. Finally, our politicians gave us austerity, which closed down libraries, youth centres and left even more empty buildings.

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ROG: an urban squat of quasi-public nature

By Jenny Kanellopoulou and Nikos Ntounis

The ongoing project titled “Making and managing Ljubljana’s urban squats: inclusive and participatory practices” (funded by the BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants and supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), investigates the way Ljubljana’s squatted areas Metelkova and Tovarna ROG are used and managed by both the official institutions and the communities of their respective users. It aims to appreciate the power dynamics that emerge in their everyday running and to critically evaluate the role that institutions play and the influence that they have vis-à-vis these particular urban settings. In this post, we wish to offer a brief elaboration on the spatial particularities surrounding ROG, namely its recent recognition by the Slovenian legal system as a “quasi-public” place. 

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A new role for maps in urban place marketing?

The Bünting Clover Leaf Map, also known as The World in a Cloverleaf, (German title: “Die ganze Welt in einem Kleberblat/Welches ist der Stadt Hannover meines lieben Vaterlandes Wapen”) is an historic mappa mundi drawn by the German Protestant pastor, theologist, and cartographer Heinrich Bünting. The map was published in his book Itinerarium Sacrae Scripturae (Travel through Holy Scripture) in 1581

by Prof Gary Warnaby

In the first volume of the Journal of Place Management and Development in 2008, I wrote an article about why place marketers should understand cartography. In it, I argued that maps – as frameworks for spatial communication and representation – could be an important aspect of place marketing activity.[1]  The process of mapping can “symbolize, depict, portray, describe, present clearly to the mind” a particular milieu[2] and can, thus, arguably be part of a place marketer’s ‘toolkit’. Indeed, maps have been a long-standing element of place marketing ‘representation work’.[3]  The use of maps in this particular context is evident at two spatial scales: the inter-urban (where maps are used to emphasise location in relation to other places), and the intra-urban (where the purpose of the map is primarily to facilitate navigation around a particular locale)[4], and it is the latter that is the focus of this discussion.

In the past, perhaps the most obvious example of urban place promotion which incorporated cartography at the intra-urban scale was the town guide – a well-established staple of urban place marketing activity, which according to Burgess, had to “serve many functions at the same time – residential guide, tourist guide, commercial and industrial directory and planning handbook”.[5]  Narrowing the spatial focus further, a more contemporary cartographic manifestation is the town centre guide, which is one of the most commonly used promotional activities employed by (especially retail oriented) urban place marketing actors. In the past, I have analysed the content of how town/city centres are represented cartographically in such guides, in relation to graphic interface features of scale, projection and symbolisation, to assess their effectiveness as aids to navigation for place users.[6] 

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Naked Yoga on the Beach

Labyrinth on Arillas Beach, Corfu. Image: Green Corfu

by Dr Heather Skinner and Pepé Soomers

In a special issue of the International Journal of Tourism Anthropology focusing on “Niche Tourism and Residents’ Well-Being in Island Destinations” Dr Heather Skinner, IPM Senior Fellow and Chair of the IPM’s Visiting Places Special Interest Group, and Pepé Soomers, an independent researcher and member of the spiritual community in the small village of Arillas situated in the North West of the Greek island of Corfu, have written an article based on their research into the way spiritual tourism has had a transformational effect on the place and its residents.

Skinner, H. and Soomers, P. (2019) ‘Spiritual tourism on the island of Corfu: Positive impacts of niche tourism versus the challenges of contested space’ International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 7(10), pp. 21-39. DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2019.098099

Corfu is a relatively small island, only 64km in length and 32km at its widest point, with a permanent resident population of around 120,000, 40% of which live in the main town. The island, situated between the East of the boot of Italy, and West of the border between Greece and Albania, has attracted tourists since the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, since the boom time of the 1980s and early 1990s there has been a decline in numbers of tourists visiting the island. Those that do visit, especially those taking All-Inclusive packages, are spending less time and money in local tourism-related businesses such as restaurants, tavernas, bars and shops. The tourist season that used to see resorts all across the island full of holidaymakers from April to October is now basically reduced to the high season of July and August in many places.

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Place management and housing: Insights and future directions

Housing in Ancoats, Manchester. Photo by Matt from Manchester, England – Flash Ancoats, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3549444

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.

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Place Management and the Victorian arcade?

Galerie Colbert, Paris. Image by Benh LIEU SONG – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3813548

by Prof Gary Warnaby

An arcade is “a glass covered passageway which connects two busy streets and is lined on both sides with shops”[1].  First developed in Paris in the late eighteenth century, arcades were a key element of the European retail and urban environment by the mid-nineteenth century. They were regarded as symbols of modernity and vitality because of their innovative use of architectural design, building materials and techniques, and they contributed to a wider process of civic boosterism of the Victorian city[2]. However, according to MacKeith, by the start of the twentieth century, the arcade’s heyday was already passing, with those constructed in the early twentieth century being smaller and less architecturally ambitious than their nineteenth century predecessors, and furthermore, arcades were often marginalised in new post-war shopping development schemes[3]

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Understanding Responsible Tourism

Overtourism
Amsterdam: One of the cities in Europe trying to push back against overtourism

by Dr Heather Skinner

While the term “responsible tourism” is widely used these days, are we really sure we understand what the term means, and who is actually “responsible”? This article will address both of these questions, along with some related issues concerning tourism ethics and the concept of sustainability. While it has been recognised that, for tourism businesses, responsibility is seen to encompass ethics and sustainability, there remains little written about these issues[1]. It is also important to note that many tourism businesses are Small and Medium Sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs) whose business focus is not always on such matters, especially in a highly competitive and crowded market, in times of continuing financial crisis or constraint.

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