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Towards ecological place management in UK housing associations: organising tomorrow’s places

James Scott Vandeventer (Department of Management, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)
Javier Lloveras (Post-Growth Innovation Lab, University of Vigo, Vigo, Spain)
Gary Warnaby (Institute of Place Management, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 11 August 2022

Issue publication date: 27 January 2023




The purpose of this paper is to conceptualise how place management practices in UK housing associations (HAs) involve processes of ecological place management.


Ethnographic fieldwork focusing on how communal spaces are organised on a housing estate in a UK city revealed the importance of negotiation with other actors, including an HA which is responsible for managing the estate. The authors draw on extensive participant observation with residents, as well as interviews with both residents and employees of the HA, to show the wider forces and complexities involved in these ecological place management practices.


This paper identifies hybrid socio-ecological, socio-political and political-economic dynamics unfolding as places are managed and organised. These widen the scope of place management research and practice to account for multiple ways places are organised.

Research limitations/implications

This paper offers a critical perspective on place management, developing an ecological approach that is applicable both to the relatively new context of housing and to more established sites in town and city centres.

Practical implications

This paper’s findings point to ways that housing and place management practitioners, both in the UK and elsewhere, can use an ecological approach to re-frame their strategic and practical actions with regards to “place”.


This paper contributes to unveiling the complexity involved in place management and organisation, thereby encouraging place managers to embrace ecological thinking capable of addressing future challenges.



The authors thank the anonymous reviewers whose comments improved the paper’s arguments. Javier Lloveras acknowledges funding by the ERC Starting Grant PROSPERA [GA 947713]. The authors also thank the employees of the housing association and residents on the housing estate who gave their time and insights to this research project.


Vandeventer, J.S., Lloveras, J. and Warnaby, G. (2023), "Towards ecological place management in UK housing associations: organising tomorrow’s places", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 105-124.



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