IPM Bulletin archive – February 2015

Rostock (Germany): New Market
Rostock (Germany): New Market

by Simon Quin

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Once again we are providing a round-up of recent articles that have struck us relating to place management that we think you will find interesting. This month we are covering two perspectives on city brand fundamentals, looking at how a global city ranking is seeking to include intangible indicators and getting an insight into the nearly always thorny issue for place management practitioners of car parking provision. We also are including some updates on issues nearer to home for the Institute of Place Management including a reminder about our forthcoming conference which you can now book for (see www.placemanagement2015.pl)

We would to thank those IPM members who have participated in our recent survey. The information you have provided is being analysed and will be discussed at the forthcoming IPM Executive Board meeting this month. We will let you know the outcome in next month’s Bulletin.

Those of you who have seen our survey will hopefully also have noticed that IPM has now become a full part of Manchester Metropolitan University, who were one of our founding partners. This allows us to have a more certain future and to work even more closely together to undertake research in the whole area of place management and to develop a wider range of appropriate courses. We will continue to work closely with universities and researchers around the world as well as continuing our mission to support those working in the field and help them develop their skills and knowledge.

There have also been changes announced in the current edition of the Journal of Place Management and Development, which is the Institute’s official journal, about the future scope of that publication. Following a review of the published content of the JPMD, as well as submissions in the pipeline, the aims and scope of the Journal have been adapted, and a revised list of suggested topics for articles has been published. In particular, more explicit mention is now given to both place branding and tourism. This reflects advances in these areas, where ‘place-led’ rather than ‘process-led’ approaches to change, along the lines advocated by the Institute of Place Management, are now clearly apparent.

To support the changing direction of the JPMD to a more inclusive journal, in terms of topics covered, and a more purposeful journal, with a clear impact agenda, it has also been announced that Professor Dominic Medway (University of Manchester) has agreed to take on the role of Academic Editor. Professor Medway replaces Dr John Byrom, also University of Manchester, who has stepped down after seven years due to other commitments. John was an integral part of getting the JPMD launched and recognised and he departs with many thanks and much appreciation.

As the Institute and Journal go forward, we would really welcome the opportunity for any thoughts or comments you may have. As well as contributing to our survey, you can always contact us directly or join us for the forthcoming IPM Conference in Poznan, Poland, this May. There is more information on this below but we would very much enjoy seeing you there.

City brand fundamentals

In a recently published article, Sam North of www.placesbrands.com has been talking to José Filipe Torres, CEO and founding partner of Bloom Consulting in Madrid, about what makes city brands. We have reproduced with acknowledgement an extract here but you can read the full article at http://placesbrands.com/expert-chat-jose-torres-on-city-brand-fundamentals/.

Responding to the question of why cities should care about branding themselves, José Torres says “Thanks to globalisation, the brand/reputation of a city impacts on six dimensions (brand impact areas): investment, tourism, talent, pride, public diplomacy and exports. Today, the brand plays a huge role in affecting these six objectives…..”

Torres continues “Many city branding campaigns are not successful because most of the time these are actually advertising strategies. I’d like to clarify one point: I’m not against advertising – I think it has its place, and a city brand strategy CAN involve some element of advertising. But cities take the wrong approach when they believe that city brand = advertising. This is not so.”


“At present, the majority of proactive city branding strategies fail.”


“Keeping in mind that city branding is NOT about promotion. It is about defining the idea you want to convey for the six dimensions I mentioned earlier. Gaining a strong and clear understanding of this concept is absolutely vital for success.”


“Stakeholder engagement/management is also key, and finally, measurement. The latter is another reason why city brand strategies tend to fail. Branding a city is a very high-profile activity, in the spotlight and which requires investment. If you don’t show demonstrable results from a governance perspective, people will quickly start to criticise.”


North asks Torres whether there are other reliable measures of brand impact beyond financial impact. Torres thinks so. “At Bloom Consulting, these are the major measures that we use to assess city branding impact:

  1. Economic. GDP – but it is key to understand exactly where the city branding produced the increased economic activity. It has to be narrowed down.
  2. Happiness. This can be measured on the dimensions of talent, and pride. Pride is the citizens’ pride in their city, making them proud of where they live. This could even be a specific goal of a branding strategy, e.g. to make people into better brand ambassadors, discourage them from leaving, or just to make them happy to live there……
  3. Demand, for example digital demand. How much more appeal and interest in the city has been generated? This is something we can measure. This tool enables me to measure the reality – who is searching online for the city or country? Exactly how interested are tourists and investors, thanks to the city brand? (This tool is unique to Bloom). It’s an absolute truth about how appealing my city or nation is, as measured by online activity.
  4. Perceptions – as measured by surveys.”

North went on to ask if Torres thought unknown cities can be branded: “Yes they can. There’s always something special about every city. City branding isn’t about inventing something; it’s about finding out what’s already there…… There are certain things that shape common perceptions of the city. We need to examine all these and see how we can align them with one big idea.”.

Dealing with a lack of control in city brands

Our second perspective on city branding this month comes from Ari–Veikko Anttiroiko in a recent article he wrote based on his 2014 book The Political Economy of City Branding, which we reproduce an extract here with acknowledgement. You can read the whole article at http://www.tronviggroup.com/city-brands/.

“Branding is a strategic intervention in the typical functioning of a city that addresses the relevance of its urban resources and influence, thus seeking to increase attraction to and export power of the city. The more successful it is at this, the better chances the city has for long term prosperity. A city’s economic value can be broken down into industries and clusters that make up the city’s industrial composition, which ultimately compose its economic identity. To clarify, we can build a generic economic city typology, which relies on production and consumption operations. We can divide city profiles into four broad categories: capital, knowledge, mobility, and pleasure. These categories form a field of post-industrial activities that add high value to a city, as illustrated in the figure below.

Unbenannt“We may consider a well-defined city profile as its economic identity, which serves as the basis for branding and an aid to economic development policy. However, the global scene on which such branding is supposed to make a difference has its challenges, one of them being its mediatized (media-influenced) nature. This poses obvious challenges to metropolitan brand leadership.

“Brands are created to benefit from symbolic values attached to products, organizations, or communities. They are created in an environment that can sometimes be favorable to the brand creator, but more often than not are teeming with factors prone to dissolve, redefine or nullify the brand—or even worse, leave it unrecognized.

“City governments are not free from such a dynamic and the related social entropy, understood here as the ‘disappearance of social distinctions.’ Indeed, cities want to become associated with vital factors that contribute to their productivity, innovativeness, and attractiveness. Examples of well-known associations are Frankfurt’s association with finance, Vienna’s with international meetings, Milan’s with fashion, Portland’s with sustainability, and Boston’s with IT and intellectual capital. Such aspirations seek their realization in the elusive symbolic fields, which are widely mediated by mass and social media. Hence, there is a natural intertwining of branding and media.

“Our lives are increasingly mediated by different kinds of media, from traditional mass media to various forms of new media. From the branding point of view, such an environment contains a range of uncontrolled elements. An illuminating example is city rankings, which are created by third parties, but affect the reputation of ranked cities. Even the inclusion of a city in the sample of a global industry-specific ranking is a good sign, as if ranked cities were members of a global club that have passed the first test in the process of gaining global media publicity.

“City rankings are lists of cities that are evaluated and ranked with regard to different economic or other characteristics, in order to reveal the position of each ranked city as ordered according to given criteria (Giffinger et al., 2008). For example, in Saffron’s city branding ranking, the top cities globally were Los Angeles, New York City, London, Paris, Seoul, and Barcelona (The Guardian, 2014). Another ranking based on the Anholt-GfK City Brands Index of 2013 named London, Sydney, Paris, New York, Rome, Washington, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vienna and Melbourne as the top ten global city brands (GfK, 2013).

“Such rankings provide a shortcut to the symbolic battlefield of cities, regions, and city-states. The implications for urban managers are obvious: cities are under considerable pressure to move up the rankings and to establish themselves as national, macro-regional, or even global hubs. As rankings are not guided by any generally accepted quality standards, they can be produced by any party and may be based on an analysis of relevant measures or not as the case may be.

“When rankings are published in magazines, newspapers, and blogs, they start to create saturation of the top cities in the given industry, and thus contribute to the externally-influenced part of a city’s competitive identity. What would you think of the impact of such headlines as ‘Detroit tops 2013 list of America’s most miserable cities’ (Forbes, February 2013), ‘World’s costliest cities: Sydney and Melbourne ranked in top 10 by Economist magazine’ (ABC News, March 2014), ‘Ottawa ranked top global city by Toronto think tank’ (IT World Canada, August 2013), or ‘New York ousts London as top financial centre’ (Financial Times, March 2014)? No wonder many large cities have started to follow rankings and even publicize them selectively on their websites to substantiate the facts about their assets and performance (See e.g. Singapore Facts and Rankings, 2014).

“Branding is about conveying the symbolic essence of a city to target audiences for strategic gain. This essence has various sides, which reflect different aspects of the power to define and control a brand. To shed light on this, let us consider four interrelated concepts at the core of branding:

  • Identity is what we are: a self-perception of the basic nature of an urban community;
  • Brand is what we manage: the managed blend of symbolic elements the city government uses to affect its target groups;
  • Image is how we are seen: a general perception and visual impressions of a community;
  • Reputation is how we are known: people’s beliefs or opinions of the human-like qualities of a community.

“In this scheme, identity and brand are constructed on the side of a brand creator, but in the case of image and reputation, the weight is on the receivers’ side. We may place the aggregated image or proto-brand (defined as the constantly evolving and co-created brand) somewhere in the middle of such a continuum………

“Cities will always be proto-brands of a kind, distracted by their constantly-evolving internal identity and affected by external forces. However, this does not prevent city governments from making efficient use of available assets and extracting values from the world in the digital age using their collective symbolic capital. There is a plethora of cases that illustrate success in such an endeavor, such as London, Paris, New York, Toronto, Sydney, Amsterdam, Seoul, Dubai, and Singapore. What is needed in making things right is more than anything: clear understanding of city’s economic identity, a brand strategy that is linked with such an identity, and industry-specific brand communication that is adjusted to the logic of a mediatized environment.”

Global Power City Index – adding new indicators

In the article above Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko refers to various city rankings. The Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies in Japan have been producing the annual Global Power City Index (GPCI) which evaluates and ranks major cities according to their “magnetism” since 2008. Whilst the ranking itself will no doubt be of interest to cities as Anttiroiko suggests, we were particularly interested in the criteria for evaluation and some changes introduced this year on an experimental basis. Before we look at those, the ranking looked at 40 cities around the world and ranked London as number one, a position it has held since 2012. After London, the remainder of the top ten comprised New York, Paris, Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hong Kong and Vienna.

Each city is assessed based on six main functions that represent the strength of a city. These are Economy, Research and Development, Cultural Interaction, Liveability, Environment and Accessibility. The GPCI also assesses each city from the perspective of four global actors: Manager, Researcher, Artist and Visitor, and the perspective of a Resident. Each city is given a ranking for each function which together then produce the overall ranking. Though London was number 1 overall, and indeed ranked first for Cultural Interaction and Accessibility, it ranked 21st for Liveability, though it had increased its score in the latter since 2013. Second place New York was ranked 1st for Research and Development and 2nd for both Economy and Cultural Interaction but was ranked 29th for Liveability and 25th for Environment.

Each of the six primary functions has a number of assessment criteria. Economy, for example, comprises Market Size, Market Attractiveness, Economic Vitality, Human Capital, Business Environment, and Regulations and Risks. Each of these criteria has at least two indicators. There are a total of 70 indicators used across the six functions with more indicators for the different actors that produce an Actor-Specific Ranking.

The Actor-Specific Rankings produce some interesting insights into the differing perspectives of the city experience. Although there are some clearly consistently well-performing cities, London makes the top three in each of the five rankings, as do Paris and New York in four, there is considerable variation further down the tables. This reflects the different strengths of some cities as shown below:

  Manager Researcher Artist Visitor Resident
1 London New York Paris London Paris
2 Singapore Tokyo London New York London
3 Hong Kong London New York Paris New York
4 Beijing Paris Berlin Istanbul Zurich
5 Shanghai Los Angeles Vienna Shanghai Tokyo

For the 2014 GPCI, the Institute for Urban Strategies determined to look beyond material criteria that cannot fully represent a city’s strengths. They devised a list of Urban Intangible Values based around six elements: Efficiency, Accuracy and Speed, Safety and Security, Diversity, Hospitality, and Change and Growth. These were focused on two perspectives: Space and Activities and Sense of Values. For Space and Activities they examined Spatial Setting, Activities and Spatial Management. There were three assessment criteria for Sense of Values as well.

Inputting the Urban Intangible Values to the GPCI results for 2014 produced a ranking with variations. London remained top with New York second but Tokyo moved ahead of Paris into third place. Four of the six US cities in the ranking, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, and San Francisco, rose several places in the new table, as did Sydney, whilst Istanbul, Brussels and Geneva were notable fallers.

The Urban Intangible Values used and their incorporation into what has been termed GPCI+ is an experiment. Those managing cities, however, will find their consideration of interest and indeed the whole of criteria is worth considering, notably the differing perspectives for the different Actors. You can download the summary report here http://www.mori-m-foundation.or.jp/gpci/pdf/GPCI14_E_Web.pdf and access previous years’ rankings from http://www.mori-m-foundation.or.jp/gpci/index_e.html.

How many parking spaces does a downtown need?

Anyone working in downtowns or town and city centres will have heard complaints about car parking. The current High Street UK 2020 research being undertaken by IPM with Manchester Metropolitan University has generated plenty of comments on car parking availability, cost, and pricing structures during our workshops, so it was with interest that we read of research in the US that has come up with some pretty startling findings.

An article by Eric Jaffe published by Citylab reports on an analysis of parking in 27 mixed-use metro areas that identifies an average 65% over-provision of parking spaces.

According to the Citylab article “Rachel Weinberger and Joshua Karlin-Resnick of NelsonNygaard Consulting Associates analyzed parking studies of 27 mixed-use districts across the United States and found ‘parking was universally oversupplied, in many cases quite significantly.’ On average across the cases, parking supply exceeded demand by 65 percent.

“’You see a huge amount of land dedicated to parking,’ said Karlin-Resnick, when presenting the research at the 94th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board. ‘That land, particularly in downtowns, could really be dedicated to more active uses, economic generators, and by extension tax generators.’”

Jaffe’s article continues “The researchers focused on districts with both residential and retail developments in a variety of settings—17 suburbs, 6 cities, and 4 towns—mostly in New England or California. (Interestingly, a third of the areas were documented as having the impression that local parking was scarce.) By looking at previous parking studies in these areas, as well as satellite imagery via Google Earth, they identified existing parking supplies and peak weekday and weekend demands.”

Weinberger and Karlin-Resnick summarise the position in their abstract as follows: “Defining sufficient supply as that which would leave 15 percent of spaces open, we find that parking is oversupplied by 65% on average. Differences in oversupply are not systematically explained by commute mode share, region, type of place, or any other dimension we were able to identify. Indeed, oversupply in places that have identified parking shortages averages 45%. The finding suggests that parking is often oversupplied to such an extent that it is non-binding on travel decisions and has become unmoored from the typical relationship between supply and demand.”

There was significant variation in over-supply found by the research as Jaffe notes: “In all 27 districts, spanning places with 420 spaces to those with 6,600 spaces, Weinberger and Karlin-Resnick found an oversupply of parking over and above the buffer zone. The oversupply ranged from 6 percent up to 253 percent across the study areas (below, the highest over-suppliers). And in the nine areas that had believed parking to be scarce, the oversupply ranged from 6 percent to 82 percent.

“As for why parking supply tends to outpace demand so dramatically, a number of reasons might apply. Planners have been known to copy parking codes from other nearby cities rather than identifying specific local needs. And business owners retain the (often outdated) mindset that their sales depend on an abundance of adjacent parking. Mandatory parking minimums for developers no doubt play a role, too.

“Weinberger and Karlin-Resnick suspect another major factor is risk-aversion. Public officials (and, by extension, the planning staffs they assemble) might view any undersupply of parking as such a political risk that they compensate by providing way too much. And since the costs of providing parking are distributed widely among taxpayers or businesses, or hidden in the decision not to build a mixed-use development at all, officials are inoculated from the consequences.

“’The costs of oversupply really aren’t felt,’ said Karlin-Resnick. ‘That’s perhaps what drives the picture we’re seeing in a lot of these places.’”

You can read the whole article by Eric Jaffe here http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2015/01/just-because-you-cant-find-a-place-to-park-doesnt-mean-there-arent-way-too-many-parking-spots/384509/ and some thoughts by another commentator on the research here https://itineranturbanist.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/parking-oversupply-in-center-square-and-hudsonpark-albany/

Forthcoming events

3rd Institute of Place Management Conference. This takes place in Poznan, Poland from 6th – 8th May 2015. The theme is sustainability, liveability and connectivity. The conference will be an opportunity for academics, practitioners and policy makers to explore how theory and practice deal with the conflicting pressures of global forces with a need to pursue sustainability outcomes – to increase the quality of life of place residents – all within the context of increased connectivity – real and virtual. Further details about the event and how to register can be accessed at www.placemanagement2015.pl

Place Management and Marketing Masterclass. This one day event takes place on Tuesday 5th May 2015 in Poznan, Poland. It will explore the forces of political, economic, social, technological and environmental change that affect places.  It will study the ‘big picture’, urbanisation, globalisation, changing demographics, e-commerce and climate change — as well focussing on as how places react, in terms of their adaptability and resilience as well as their development strategies. The Masterclass will also explore the development of place marketing — from place promotion to place co-creation. A range of urban and rural place marketing practices will be explored, allowing delegates to evaluate the impact place marketing has on places, both positive (e.g. inward investment and resident satisfaction) and negative (e.g. commodification and gentrification). The role of social media and public relations in place marketing will also be explored as well as the development of digital place identity. Finally, the skills and behaviours of successful place managers will be scrutinised, enabling delegates to plan their future professional development in the area. For further information and registration see www.placemanagement.org

People, places and partnerships – creating liveable and loveable places. The 15th International Cities, Town Centres and Communities Society (ICTC) and the 5th National Mainstreet Australia Conference is to be held in Wollongong from the 22nd– 24th July 2015. This event will not only look at latest global trends and case studies in the industry but will also take a closer look at the challenges and learnings along the way. From overcoming negative perceptions to enabling economic prosperity – the focus will be on practical tools and solutions for successful mainstreets, towns and cities – for a variety of budgets and situations. Further information on the event is available from the flyer http://www.mainstreetaustralia.org.au/ImageLibraryAssets/2014/2015-ictc-conference-flyer.pdf. If you are considering attending, you may first want to read “We love the Gong” by Kerr G, Dombkins K, and Jelley S that appeared in the Journal of Place Management Volume 5 Issue 3. It can be accessed here http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/17538331211269666


Forthcoming publications

Dr Nicole Porter from the Environmental Physics and Design Research Group at Nottingham University is currently in the process of writing a book for publication titled ‘Landscape and Branding: the promotion and production of place‘. Landscape and branding explores the way landscape is conceived, represented and designed by professionals in a brand-driven age.

Landscape —incorporating tangible physical space as well as intangible concepts, narratives, images, and experiences of place — is constructed by a number of creative industries. This book tests the hypothesis that place branding, a powerful marketing and management practice, increasingly blurs the distinction between the promotion of landscape and its production in design terms. Place branding seeks to compose single-minded, emotive and market-friendly place identities which are consistently communicated across various ‘surfaces, screens and sites’; print media surfaces, television, computer, mobile and cinema screens, and physical sites.
What is the function of landscape when it is comprehensively constructed in this manner? How does this affect the role of landscape design, not only in corporate/urban settings but increasingly in public/ non-urban contexts?

To answer these questions, global place branding theory and practice is critically examined alongside an in depth case study of one specific landscape — the Blue Mountains (Australia). Projects undertaken between 1995 and 2015, including a branding strategy for the region, media campaigns, television, cinema, and several landscape architectural works in the public and private domain are comparatively analysed, focusing on the discourse, conventions and values informing their production.

By critically situating landscape within a 21st century market context,  this work presents a challenge to the landscape architectural profession, revealing that landscape design is one of several mediating practices which can both complement place branding processes and counteract them.

Landscape and Branding: the promotion and production of place is due for publication in late 2015 by Routledge.

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