COVID 19: Responding, Recovering, Reinventing.


International Place Leadership Forum, online 5th May 2020


Over 150 participants from 25 countries joined the IPM for the International Place Leadership Forum, 5th May 2020 to discuss the effect of COVID-19 on places around the world.

How are city authorities and place managers reacting to the pandemic? What can we learn from the different lockdown and recovery strategies that are being adopted? What might be the longer-term effects of COVID-19? How do we be better prepared for tomorrow and how can we lead change?

Giovanna (Ivrea, Italy), Romy Schubert and Viola Krecker (Berlin, Germany), Michael Edwards (Chicago, USA), Bill Addy (Liverpool & The BID Foundation, UK), and Simon Quin (Institute of Place Management) shared their experiences, thoughts and proposals related to the pandemic.

One of the key issues that was discussed was the need for coordinated action and a recovery plan for towns and cities. Even after the partial reopening in many places, footfall has not reached anywhere near pre-pandemic levels and it is uncertain when this will happen. Place leaders reported on how they are focussing their efforts on coordinating local players – business owners, landowners, local authorities and more. The recognition that stronger partnerships are needed, seems to be one of the positive side-effects of the current crisis.

It was clear from the discussion that not all cities have exact footfall or turnover data. Knowledge of the local situation was then based on communication with commercial players. The IPM’s COVID-19 recovery plan has already proven useful in some places (e.g. Chicago) to structure the passage to the post-pandemic era.

The long-term effects in the relation between offline and online retail was another question that was debated at some length with most discussants believing that we may see an acceleration of the existing trend, while others seeing in it a chance to refocus on local shops. Finally, the restructuring of public space, not only during, but in particular after the epidemic, was a topic that triggered several questions from the attendees.

A second International Place Leadership Forum is planned for June 2020.

Watch the video below: