Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Together, we can!
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Place Management and Development, Volume 1, Issue 1.
Together, we can!
The Institute of Place Management has been established to support people committed to developing, managing and making places better. The obvious question is how to define when a place is “better”. The experience of practitioners would suggest that better is not about “disneyfication” the pedestrianisation and public realm improvements in one declining US city centre was notably described by a UK observer as “like putting cosmetics on a corpse” (Falk, 1994). Instead, it is suggested that the most apt definition of better is whether the place better serves the needs of its communities. This, of course, begs another question, who are the “communities”?
It is contended that when most place managers think about their communities, they have various groups in mind, depending on what kind of place they are managing. It will normally include the immediate residential community, probably the residents of a far wider catchment area, in some instances day visitors or tourists, as well as the business community. For those managing places as opposed to what Auge (1995) called “non-places” the concept of community is inclusive and therefore the needs of all the community must be met, though not necessarily at the same time.
Locality and “localness” are inherent characteristics of place management, even for those locations that seek to attract international visitors, and so it is no surprise that this is the predominant focus of nearly all initiatives. It is contended, however, that the launch of this new international journal provides an opportunity to reflect on the impact place management can have on the global community.
There are several thousand town centre management initiatives in Europe, a similar number of downtown initiatives in North America and at least that number elsewhere in the world, plus perhaps tens of thousands of neighbourhood management initiatives, so now we need to understand the effect successful local initiatives can cumulatively have on promoting, or otherwise, healthier lifestyles hence combating obesity; on providing services and facilities for ageing populations; on combating climate change through such things as encouraging walkability and local sourcing; for promoting community cohesion and integration at a time when large-scale population changes, in both directions, are forecast; and in promoting community or citizen-driven governance through initiatives such as business improvement districts or community membership schemes.
An international research and practitioner journal gives us the opportunity to make local initiatives more effective and to better understand the local and global impact of place management. This understanding may in turn open new avenues of funding for initiatives as their full effect is understood.
Simon QuinPractitioner Editor, Chief Executive, Association of Town Centre Management, London, UK and Director, Institute of Place Management, London, UK
ReferencesAuge, M. (1995), Non-places: An Introduction to the Anthropology of Supermodernity, Verso, London (translated by J. Howe).Falk, N. (1994), unpublished paper.