Meet the IPM: Interview with Simon Quin

SQ Poznan

Simon Quin is the Institute’s Director of Place Management and is Practitioner Editor of the Journal of Place Management and Development. He was Chief Executive of the Association of Town Centre Management for six years where he oversaw a tripling of membership, making it the world’s largest organisation of its type, the introduction of Business Improvement Districts to the UK and the development of the Purple Flag awards. He has served on the Boards of the Washington-based International Downtown Association and of Town Centre Management Europe (TOCEMA). He was a founding Director of the UK’s National Skills Academy for Retail. He serves on the Project for Public Spaces (New York) Leadership Council and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He has spoken on issues relating to place management in over twenty countries and, when not travelling, he is an active gardener and land manager. Continue reading “Meet the IPM: Interview with Simon Quin”

Communities of exclusion: Some thoughts on the concept of community

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by Ares Kalandides

A bizarre piece of news caught my attention recently: A Kosovarian family was allegedly denied citizenship in Switzerland, not for failing to comply with the formal requirements, but for not adapting to the local norms. The transgressions (according to the article) were that the family wore tracksuits instead of jeans and that they did not greet people in passing. If this is true, it sheds a strange light on the very concept of community, which thus appears inward-looking, conservative and exclusive.

Indeed, I find it increasingly difficult to think of the concept in other terms and I believe we should be careful if we want to use it in any meaningful way. Community, the way I understand it, is first of all a group of people who share something – an idea, a common feature or a place[1].  Place in particular is generally entangled in a strong imagery ofbelonging (communities are groups of people linked to each other through their belonging to a place), though we can clearly think of non place-based communities (internationalism was founded on exactly this idea).   I see several problems related to the above.

Firstly, there is the question of who defines the community: is it defined from within, is there some kind of common identity that makes you belong to it or is it defined from the outside, by an observer who is not part of it? If the latter is the case, could it be that the outside observer sees a community where there isn’t any, i.e. that she imagines a common identity although the perceived members don’t define themselves through that? I very often ask myself whether the term LGBTQ community has any sense or whether for example the differences among LGBTQ people prevail upon any sense of commonness.

Second, there is clearly a question of norms, of the explicit or implicit rules of belonging. The above example perfectly illustrates the latter: whilst explicit requirements were fulfilled, implicit norms were transgressed, leading to rejection.

Third, there is an issue of boundaries, spatial or other, that define the inside and outside of a community. Are they real or imaginary? Ad hoc or stable? Formalized or informal? Whatever they are, community, especially when defined from within, is based on the idea of frontier, i.e. of exclusion.

Fourth, particularly problematic is the illusion of homogeneity, i.e. the idea, mostly created by outside observers, that communities are a harmonious group, whereas in reality, there are outsiders inside communities, entrenched conflicts and fault lines as well as the worst types of discrimination. The idealized, romanticized “village” or “neighbourhood” are perfect example of the above.

And finally, there is the question of progress: are groups of people static, are they open to newcomers, are they willing to change their rules and up to what point? Is the group defined by traditions and if yes are they prepared to give them up?

I am not providing answers here and I don’t really think we are capable of giving clear ones at such an abstract level. I’m only trying to show the complexity of the issue and the fact that we should be careful when using the term community, as it is not inherently positive. I think that the quoted example from Switzerland rather confirms my doubts.

(This article was originally posted in the blog Places.)


[1] As in many of the things I’ve written, Doreen Massay’s “A global sense of place” has been a source of constant inspiration: Massey, D.,1994, “A global Sense of Place”, Place and Gender, Polity Press, Cambridge, pp. 146-156.

JPMD Special Issue online now: Crime prevention through urban design, planning and management

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Editorial by Ares Kalandides

Dedicated to the memory of Prof Clara Cardia

Crime prevention is increasingly to be found at the top of the place management agenda and it is now generally accepted that good places are also safe places. Of course, crime prevention is about more things than just places: it is about people and agency, about poverty and inequality, about weakness and strength, about moral values and social norms among many things. Yet, it is also recognized that place is a fundamental category when we want to look at the conditions or the local situation that facilitates the act of crime. For place managers, crime or indeed the fear of crime, have been constant issues in dealing with the quality of places and in particular, but not only, public places. How do we make public space safer and also, how do we make people feel safer in public space? Crime Prevention through Urban Design Planning and Management (CP-UDPM) puts place in the centre of the approach and looks at the conditions that make crime possible locally and induce a fear of crime: a badly-lit alley, an abandoned subway, indifferent neighbours etc. The concept of crime has been extended to include incivilities such as litter and vandalism – seen both as a problem in themselves, but also as a sign of abandoned and unsafe public space. We do not want to enter the discussion of definitions here, but suffice to say that both crime and incivilities are contested terms, seen both as socially constructed and contingent.

You can access the special issue of the Journal of Place Management and Development here. Become a member of the Institute of Place Management to gain free access to JPMD. Continue reading “JPMD Special Issue online now: Crime prevention through urban design, planning and management”

Meet the IPM: 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: Dr Steve Millington”

Special Place Management Track at IPBA Conference

Bildschirmfoto 2016-06-07 um 17.15.13The Institute of Place Management (Place Branding SIG) is very pleased to announce its participation in the inaugural conference of the newly established International Place Branding Association, which will take place in London between 8th and 9th December 2016. The conference aims at bringing together participants from a wide spectrum of disciplines to discuss the present state and future prospects of place branding as well as its relation to place management and tourism planning. It will be an exciting event for anyone involved in place management and it will be very interesting for both scholars and practitioners. Continue reading “Special Place Management Track at IPBA Conference”

Call for papers, JPMD Special Issue “Participatory placemaking: concepts, methods and practices“

IMG_4846Special issue call for papers from the Journal of Place Management and Development. Issue 11.2, Summer 2018

The Journal of Place Management and Development (JPMD) is pleased to invite papers for a special issue on “Participatory placemaking: concepts, methods and practices”

Overview of the Theme

Continue reading “Call for papers, JPMD Special Issue “Participatory placemaking: concepts, methods and practices“”

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

Continue reading “Why the IPM directors are voting to stay in the EU”

IPM response to draft World Towns Agreement

shrewsbury-pound-hillFollowing the publication of the draft World Towns Agreement for discussion and adoption at the World Towns Leadership Summit on 15th & 16th June in Edinburgh, Professor Gary Warnaby FIPM (Institute of Place Management and University of Manchester) and Professor Cathy Parker SFIPM (Institute of Place Management and Manchester Metropolitan University) have published a response on behalf of the Institute.  Continue reading “IPM response to draft World Towns Agreement”

How squatted areas become ‘normalised’ city elements: place branding, place marketing, and the law

Photo source: News Øresund - Peter Mulvany ©
Christiania. Photo source: News Øresund – Peter Mulvany ©

by Jenny Kanellopoulou* & Nikos Ntounis**

“Squatting” in an urban context is more often than not associated with groups of people occupying a place in order to claim rights and liberties outside the realms of “mainstream” society. There is no doubt that the residents and occupiers of these places are operating outside the law, outside municipal or state regulation, and even outside the aesthetics prescribed by the “mainstream” they wish to avoid. What happens however, when the mainstream-disturbing squat acquires a “brand” of its own and moves beyond the borders of nuisance to become a well-known attraction? Continue reading “How squatted areas become ‘normalised’ city elements: place branding, place marketing, and the law”