Welcome to Volume 8, Number 1 of the Journal of Place Management and Development (JPMD). As usual, in our first issue of the year, we reflect over the past 12 months, and we are also taking the opportunity to announce some important changes that reflect the changing nature of the Journal, its authors, readership and other important stakeholders.
First of all, by reviewing the published content of the JPMD, as well as submissions in the pipeline, we have adapted the aims and scope of the Journal and published a revised list of suggested topics. In particular, more explicit mention is now given to both place branding and tourism. This reflects advances in these areas, where “place-led” rather than “process-led” approaches to change, along the lines advocated by the Institute of Place Management (IPM) (for which, this Journal is the official publication), are now clearly apparent.
We also have news to report regarding the IPM. Whilst it has always been strongly affiliated to Manchester Metropolitan University, the University has offered to provide a more permanent home to the IPM. This reflects the growing expectation that universities should have a demonstrable impact on society. The IPM, with its network of over 900 place professionals, and this Journal, with an international Editorial Advisory Board of over 40 members and 400+ reviewers, form a very strong infrastructure to bring together academics, practitioners and policy makers. We will work hard to ensure the research published in the JPMD has significant impact, through disseminating the findings more effectively through these networks.
To support the changing direction of the JPMD to a more inclusive journal, in terms of topics covered, and a more purposeful journal, with a clear impact agenda, we are delighted to announce that Professor Dominic Medway (University of Manchester) has agreed to take on the role of Academic Editor. As you will see, Dominic has published a piece in this issue, debating place branding, along with Kathryn Swanson, Lisa Delpy Neirotti, Cecilia Pasquinelli and Sebastian Zenker. We have also invited Dominic to write the next Editorial (8.2), where he can set out his aspirations for the JPMD as our new Academic Editor.
Dr John Byrom (also at University of Manchester), our previous Academic Editor, decided to retire from this office when he took up a more important role (father of Nancy Byrom). We thank John for seven years’ service to the JPMD, especially for increasing the Journal’s exposure in Australia and working to ensure it was included on the influential Australian Business Dean’s Council List of quality, peer-reviewed journals
We feel these changes will support the JPMD as it continues to grow. The Journal is now taken by over 1,500 institutions worldwide, and, once again, 2014 looks like it will be a very good year in terms of downloads. Whilst we do not have the whole year’s figures for 2014, by September 2014, downloads were up 33 per cent compared with the same period in 2013. Our Editorial Board Members have also been very supportive and complementary towards the Journal’s progress. Many have suggested topics and themes for forthcoming issues, including gentrification, big data and digital place branding and marketing, so we look forward to supporting the development of at least one special issue by theme from 2016.
Special issues of the JPMD are always our most popular – in terms of both downloads and citations. This year the IPM conference will be held at Poznań University of Economics (Faculty of Management) during 6th-8th May 2015 and chaired by Dr Magdalena Florek. As usual, the best papers will be published in a special issue of this Journal. Registration for the conference is now open and more details can be found at http://www.placemanagement2015.pl. We hope to see many of our authors, Editorial Advisory Board Members and reviewers at the conference, and we will sending out formal invitations to the conference, a workshop to develop research for publication in the JPMD and an Editorial Advisory Board meeting very soon.
So, moving to the content of this issue, reflecting upon earlier comments regarding the expanded aim and scope of the Journal, we are especially pleased with the range of papers. We have contributions from sociology, economic development, spatial planning, place branding and tourism.
First, we have Oliwier Dziadkowiec, Scott Wituk and Debra Franklin’s paper, “A social network analysis of South Central Kansas Workforce Innovations in Regional Economic Development”. The paper looks at the Workforce Innovations in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) project, a coalition of regional economic leaders in the composites industry of South Kansas, with a view to assessing the strength of the coalition in terms of its composition and connectivity. Social network analysis is used to assess the coalition based on three survey questions: Who do you know? Who do you communicate with? Who do you collaborate with? The findings suggest that the network possesses a strong core with a well-defined periphery. Furthermore, by then analysing the results with key actors in each category removed, the ability of the group to cope with key actor losses is assessed, revealing that the WIRED coalition is well-placed to cope with such circumstances. The research has great practical implications in that it highlights both key actors and, perhaps more importantly, those actors (and their respective sectors) that perhaps are not well-engaged in current activity yet possess good potential for future collaboration, and as such need to be further integrated into the group. The lack of analytical resources aimed at empirically examining coalitions/collaborations of this nature, and the human and economic resources embedded in them, make this paper a valuable addition to the literature on the subject. The authors identify that the results of this study, as well as the feedback from the WIRED Leadership team, suggest that social network analysis is very valuable in identifying areas for action or improvement and should be further utilized for informing effective decision making in similar contexts.
Second, we have “Place branding in strategic spatial planning: a content analysis of development plans, strategic initiatives and policy documents for Portugal 2014-2020” by Eduardo Henrique da Silva Oliveira. In this article, Oliveira investigates the degree to which place branding has been integrated into spatial planning and policies, in the particular location of Portugal. His content analysis of 20 spatial planning and policy documents, at various scales (local, regional, national and European), demonstrates that place branding is absent in most of these documents. Despite a supposed national commitment to branding – it is not integrated into spatial strategies. Instead, there is a plethora of “tourism-orientated promotion initiatives and investment-orientated marketing campaigns which are vertically and horizontally disarticulated”. Oliveira’s analysis portrays the gap between “place” and “branding” which he feels will only be bridged if there is more integration between place branding and strategic spatial planning. His article ends with this call to action, whilst acknowledging the challenges that exist, for example, the differing ideologies and perspectives of planners and marketers.
Next, David Purnell’s paper, “Expanding Oldenburg: homes as third places”, takes Oldenburg’s (2000) definition of third places and develops it further, suggesting that third places are not static in nature, but rather they are dynamic. Purnell challenges Oldenburg’s assertion that work and home cannot qualify as third places, making the distinction between place and space to suggest that it is the use of a place, rather than the physical place itself, which really matters. Purnell suggests that “third place is therefore defined by more than a designation based upon physical elements; it is defined by the interactions and attachments held by those who are in attendance”. Purnell seeks to illustrate this by offering the example of “Family Dinners”, an informal initiative set-up to bring together the people of the Seminole Heights neighbourhood in Tampa, Florida. Each week a dinner is hosted by one of the participants in their home to which all are welcome. Personal interviews are conducted with some of the regular attendees of these dinners to establish their motivations and feelings surrounding the family dinner format and produce a number of characteristics which are deemed to constitute characteristics of third places. The findings suggest that a welcoming environment, interaction between participants and regular attendance are all key aspects. Purnell’s paper takes Oldenburg’s third-place theory and seeks to extend it, suggesting that space rather than place should be the operative descriptor, and that third-space discussion should not privilege structure-based designations but rather use-based designations.
Our final academic contribution is by Dominic Medway, Kathryn Swanson, Lisa Delpy Neirotti, Cecilia Pasquinelli and Sebastian Zenker. This piece describes a debate that took place at the recent American Marketing Association’s Summer Marketing Educators’ conference in San Francisco. The session formed the motion for an Oxford Union-style debate with two opposing teams, one team supporting and one team opposing the motion “place branding – are we wasting our time?”. The nature and content of the debate represented many of the arguments for and against place branding we have carried in this Journal. Nevertheless, to condense these arguments into such a session was a useful exercise in terms of synthesis and to offer recommendations for future development in the area. Identifying the common ground that current place brand practice is inadequate and removed from the potential offered by place brand theory neatly identifies the need for theory to inform practice. The authors conclude “a key task for place marketing academics should be finding ways to make branding work better for places” and suggest that the future of place branding should shift “from an activity of ‘imposition’ to one of ‘curation’”. This is a direction we would encourage, as it is not the intention of JPMD to just publish critical research, but critical research that can lead to improvements in practice and ultimately to places and the quality of life of their residents.
Finally, our “Place in Practice” contribution is from Jeremy Buultjens and Grant Cairncross. In their paper, “Significant remote events: an examination of Birdsville Races”, they present a case study that shows the impact a significant event can have on very small and very remote places. Birdsville, deep in the Australian outback, may only have a population of around 150 people, but it has been staging a regular race meeting since 1882. Over a two-day period, some 3,000-7,000 people are attracted to the town. Given the scales involved, it is perhaps not surprising that Buultjens and Cairncross found that the direct economic benefit from the event to Birdsville was limited due to leakage, but that the event makes a significant contribution to promoting a sense of togetherness and engagement in the local community and its history. The event is also significant in that its level of national and international exposure has produced additional economic benefits for the town. As a place marketing initiative, the Races have established an iconic image for Birdsville. The paper also shows that benefits arise from this event for the surrounding region and at other times of the year. Funds raised from the event provide direct community benefits in funding the Royal Flying Doctor service.
We very much hope you enjoy the articles in this issue. If you have an idea for a paper or would like to volunteer to become one of our reviewers, then please get in touch with the Editor-in-Chief, Professor Cathy Parker at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathy Parker, Simon Quin and Gareth Roberts
Institute of Place Management, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK