IPM festive seminar brings the year to a close

The IPM team were full of festive cheer last week as we hosted our final seminar of the year. The event brought together IPM staff and members to hear some of the latest place management research and projects from across the sector.

Senior research associate Nikos Ntounis and colleague Jenny Kanellopoulou kicked off the seminar discussing their recent trip to the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. They presented their initial thoughts and findings from the visit to the Tovarna Rog squat, an abandoned industrial complex on the east edge of Ljubljana’s centre. Their project investigates the way Ljubljana’s squatted areas, Tovarna Rog and Metelkova Mesto, are used and managed by both the official institutions and their communities of users. They have recently published a blog outlining the aims of the project and plan to publish an academic journal paper on their findings in the near future.

New IPM staff member Maria Loroño-Leturiondo followed, in her first presentation since successfully defending her PhD thesis. Maria presented her key findings from her PhD, which focuses on public engagement with air pollution and the future of cities. Maria discussed the three challenges identified within her thesis; the air pollution challenge, the public engagement challenge and the gender challenge. Following detailed qualitative research, Maria identified people fail to grasp the health consequences of air pollution and gender significantly influences perceptions and information consumption about air pollution. 

IPM members Paul O'Hare and Maarja Kaaristo presented their research titled ‘Community action and flood resilience: the case of Littleborough’. Focussing on the severe Boxing Day floods that hit the town in 2015, their research explores the community response and ability to build resilience against potential future flooding events. Within the project, Paul and Maarja helped form the Littleborough Flood Resilience Partnership to establish set processes, strategies and practices to enable the local community to support a wider flood resilience programme. Following stakeholder and community engagement the project identified three key issues to improve; health and safety, task distribution and the need for information.

Just before the break, Brendan Keegan used the digital software menti to allow the audience to participate in an interactive poll, indicating how they voted and how they think other people in the constituency voted at the government election, which took place on the same day.

Following a short break with obligatory mince pies and mulled wine, Brendan returned to centre stage to deliver a presentation about the potential project ‘Go Green Routes’. The project, which is being considered for the horizon 2020 fund, brings together 14 universities, 12 SMEs and 5 NGOs. The project aims to explore the role of nature-based solutions in urban sustainability, considering the role of nature-based enterprise, sustainable physical activity, and digital, cultural and knowledge innovation. Brendan’s particular specialism is in digital placemaking, he explained the project will utilise emotional mapping and VR to develop a digital placemaking toolkit.

Next up James Vandeventer and Paul Kelly unveiled the new place-based giving scheme, Step Up Manchester. James explained IPM’s involvement in the project as a key partner, integrating place management theory and best practice into the ambitious project. Paul, who has recently been employed to lead the scheme, explained what Step Up aimed to achieve working in partnership with Manchester City Council, IPM, GM Mental Health Trust and the Manchester Local Care Organisation. The project will operate across East Manchester, identifying, supporting and growing community led initiatives through high profile giving. Click here to read more about the launch of the project.

Wrapping up the seminar, Claire Tymon, Executive Director of Future Everything, looked at alternate futures for Greater Manchester high streets. Claire’s work focusses on sustainable creative-led regeneration, she has been commissioning artists to enhance high streets around Greater Manchester for more than 20 years. Claire discussed her successful ‘Blackburn is Open’ campaign, which encouraged the local creative community to develop innovative ways to improve the town centre. During the 3-year programme, a number of ideas were tested and facilitated with a number of empty shops transformed into start-up retail and art spaces.

We hope you can join us at our next research seminar in the New Year on 13th February.