Towards Places and Ecosystems: The Integrated Management of Locations, Destinations, and the Living Space

Towards Places and Ecosystems: The Integrated Management of Locations, Destinations, and the Living Space

Julian Philipp, Harald Pechlaner
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5976-8.ch004
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Traditionally, locations, destinations, and living spaces have been managed, developed, and marketed separately. However, various global megatrends such as digitalization, globalization, or climate change—as well as changing needs of workers, tourists, or residents—have put these spatial layers in a state of transformation. In the course of this transformation, integrated spatial development and management concepts have emerged over the past two decades, as modern cities need to manage their neighborhoods and living spaces, business locations, leisure and culture offers, and their tourism attractions holistically. Two main development paths are elaborated: place management, and the ecosystem approach.
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The Management of Locations, Living Spaces, and Destinations

Traditionally, the different spatial layers of cities and regions – mainly the location, the living space and the destination – are perceived, managed and developed separately. The term location refers to the economic layer of a city or region and the various businesses and firms settled in it. Economic development is often the main responsibility of local or regional business development agencies, or economic development agencies that focus on attracting businesses and fostering the economic development by creating and maintaining industrial districts or clusters, offering incentives or providing infrastructural support (Nie, 1993). The main tasks of location management or economic development are 1) the protection of existing and creation of new jobs, 2) securing and optimizing the local economy and financial power, and 3) creation of a balanced economic structure (Markert, 2018). Hence, there is usually a close cooperation and exchange between the administration of a location and the local businesses. There are three layers of economic development: local economic development including businesses, founders, employees or politics; regional economic development including chambers, associations, banks, the public, educational institutions or citizens; and the trans-regional economic development including governments, investment funds, national associations or labor unions. Therefore, the tasks and responsibilities of location management and economic development are quite diverse, ranging from technological funding to regional marketing to simple building permissions or sales of industrial areas (Vogelgesang & Stember, 2021).

The living space is “the inhabited or occupied space of a social group and […] the sum of people, infrastructures, […] culture and identity” (Döll-König & Pechlaner, 2022, p. 6) that people encounter in their daily life. Its management is often within the responsibilities of city and rural developers, resident bureaus, as well as urban and rural planning or development departments that focus on the use and development of land and aim at “address[ing] the basic human needs of communities” (Cobbinah, 2017, p.223). Key tasks of the management of cities or urban and rural living spaces include the development of concepts for the design, organization and leadership of urban development processes and projects, the communication and cooperation with participating actors, and the implementation of these concepts and plans (Sinning, 2011). Following new trends and developments of the past decades, relatively new tasks of living space management are the culturalization of urban and rural politics, the development and implementation of project for improving socially underprivileged areas, attraction building through events and projects, and local participation (Ostergren & Rice, 2004). According to Sinning (2011), urban and rural living space management includes neighborhood management, infrastructure management, housing management, facility management, floor management, brownfield management, mobility management or sustainability management. Despite similar management and development intentions and approaches, there are some significant differences between urban and rural spaces as well, such as the population density, the relationship among residents, public and transport infrastructure, economies, or costs for housing or other essential goods (cf. Mair, 2010).

Then again, local and regional tourism management and marketing is often the role of the respective destination management organization (DMO) that coordinates public and private stakeholders to further develop the local tourism process by providing tourism products and services and attracting visitors to the destination (Reinhold et al., 2019). Historically speaking, destination management started with a focus in information and infrastructure provision as well as industry representation. When the markets became more demand-driven, new forms of marketing, financing and organization emerged that, in the age of digitalization, further developed into a management of customer journeys and destination networks focusing on specific target groups and processes (Bieger & Klumbies, 2022) and often drawing upon the routes and attraction points that initially attract visitors to a destination and influence their movement patterns (Beritelli et al., 2015). Depending on its transaction costs, power asymmetries, interdependencies, control mechanisms, knowledge base and informal connections, destinations can be dominated either by a community or a corporate model (cf. Beritelli et al., 2007). DMOs can have different structures – they can be governmental departments, divisions within such departments, government-like corporations, public-private agencies, private corporations or even non-for-profit organizations – and usually focus their work around external marketing, internal management, and strategic development (Presenza et al., 2005). Primary tasks of DMOs are the production and supply of services, the development of new, distinctive and competitive products, and both internal and external communication (Sainaghi, 2006). Beyond that, modern DMOs are also involved in activities such as research, resource stewardship, risk management, relationship building, human resource training, lobbying, information provision, business support, or various additional tasks that come up in terms of branding, visitor experiences, leadership or crisis management (Pearce, 2015).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Space: Derived from physics, where space refers to the three-dimensional extent, in geography the term refers to territorial dimensions. Geographical space is often land in either public or private ownership.

Place Management: Place management refers to the holistic perception of locations, destinations and living spaces as a whole.

Regional Development: In regional development, spatial management goes beyond the boundaries of cities and considers their geographical surrounding, particularly the rural area, as well.

Ecosystem: This term is derived from natural sciences and refers to a group of living and non-living components, their environment and all the interactions within. It has been adopted in various scientific disciplines, including business, entrepreneurship or regional development.

Location: The location is the economic and business-related layer of a city or region and usually managed by an economic development agency with the goal of attracting businesses and fostering the economic development.

Living Space: The living space is the inhabited or occupied space of social groups and the sum of people, infrastructures, culture and identity of the everyday life.

Network: Networks are sets of actors and all their relationships and interactions with each other. They can appear within organizations, stakeholder groups, neighborhoods, cities, regions, or beyond. Networks are characterized by low hierarchies and quick decision-making, making them flexible and adaptable.

Destination: In tourism, a destination is where tourists and visitors travel to, regardless of whether it is a leisure or business journey. A destination can be a city, a region, a landscape or an entire country. A destination consists of attraction points, tourist infrastructure, tourism-related businesses, and a destination management organization, among others.

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