While Edinburgh, Scotland has more public houses (pubs) than any other council area in Scotland, in June it was also the host of the World Towns Leadership Summit. Organized by ATCM (Association of Town and City Management), BIDS (Business Improvement Districts Scotland), IDA (International Downtown Association) and STP (Scotland’s Towns Partnerships), the summit, a global first, brought together thought leaders and town and urban place managers from around the globe to discuss the urgent challenges facing towns and urban districts. 

Professionals and advocates from across Europe, North America and Africa convened in Edinburgh June 15-16th to not only share views on progressive place management strategies, civic engagement and governance but to also craft the “World Towns Framework: A Public-Private-Social Vision for Urban Centres.”  ICSC as an association was a summit supporter and was also on the dais and at the table well represented by ICSC members, including several members of ICSC’s P3 Retail volunteer leadership.

In line with ICSC’s Exploring New Leasing Models in an Omni-Channel World  which notes that “…owners are directly engaging consumers through place-making strategies that help to drive customer flow to retailers”, the Summit attendees were in agreement that rather than wrestle with the definition of place, many terms worldwide describe the urban district each organization is responsible for on a daily basis. Further, whether a city is comprised of a single CDB or a collage of many villages and retail centers, everyone agreed the focus must center on people -- as it is people who define cities, districts and neighborhoods. 

Included within the Framework, is principal 3.1 Great Relationships with Blurred Boundaries which recognizes that “great towns and urban districts have great economic and social relationships. These relationships foster collaboration, based on shared outcomes. Successful places will embrace the blurring, bridging and fusion of the traditional boundaries between public, commercial, and community sectors.”  Working together, P3 (public, private and non-profit) will be the key to success.

Check out the event Storify for more information on the Summit and its presentations as well as the World Towns Framework.