Manchester Metropolitan University


Place Management and Leadership

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • This is a unique course. Manchester Met is the only university to offer postgraduate qualifications in Place Management
  • This course is accredited by the Institute of Place Management
  • The Institute of Place Management brings together long-standing streams of research that Manchester Met has international renown for and which, together, represent the more impactful areas of marketing, in terms of the reach and significance they have on society
  • The course is delivered by a team of internationally renowned academics and practitioners
  • All assessments are designed to have impact on specific locations
  • You will be able to network with managers and leaders in a variety of places.  Over 100 students have studied Place Management with us, from 22 different countries
  • Manchester Met is a world-leader in the study of Place Management and launched the Journal of Place Management and Development in 2008. We actively encourage students to publish work of suitable standard
  • You will be taught in the internationally recognised multi-award-winning Business School on All Saints Campus. Watch the video to find out more.


Accreditations, Awards and Endorsements

About the course

Typically, you will study the following units:

Principles of Place Management, Marketing and Branding

Combining theory from both business and geography with real-word practice, this unit will introduce you to the principles of place management, marketing and branding from an interdisciplinary and multistakeholder perspective.  Place management, marketing and branding draws from a variety of disciplines and professions. The unit will critically explore the following:

  • Definitions of place
  • The application of business principles to place
  • Cover issues such as place competition
  • Approaches to understanding exogenous and endogenous development
  • Neoliberalism and the homgenisation of place
  • Place communication and promotion
  • Place marketing and contemporary perspectives on branding
  • Contested places
  • Nested places
  • Concepts of place attachmentment and ‘embeddedness’
  • Place hierarchies

The unit explores rural and urban place marketing concepts practices, introducing the concept of ‘fuzzy places’ and including the use of social media and the construction of digital place identity, the co-creation of place and place experiences, and service-dominat logic.

The development of place management as a practice and profession will also be explored, as well as major forces affecting places and their management — political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental. Students will be expected to reflect on their on place management practices, skills and behaviours. Finally, the unit investigates different types of place intervention (strategic and operational), drawing on the principles of place management, marketing and branding.

Place Leadership, Governance and Partnership Development

Drawing on theory from both public and private sector management, the unit will equip you with the ability to understand leadership and partnership development in the context of place, as well as understanding a range of governance structures within a variety of cultural and other contexts.  The unit will also cover leadership theory within the context of place, as well as reviewing various forms of governance and exploring the partnership development process in place:

  • Traditional command and control approach to physical and financial asset management
  • Collaborative and facilitative approaches to leadership
  • Management of physical, social, human and symbolic capital
  • Place culture and the nature of leadership in different contexts (public, private and ‘third’ sector)
  • Leadership style: the place management spectrum, boundary spanning employees
  • The dynamics of leadership: the leader’s role — knowledge, skills and behavior and impact upon others
  • Place leadership behaviours: challenging, influencing, balancing, questioning and learning.
  • Models of place change, the effects of change, leading and managing change
  • Government vs. governance
  • Different forms of governance: global; network, participatory and corporate
  • Strategy formation process
  • Place culture, structure and strategy
  • Strategy and planning
  • Consultation and empowerment
  • Stakeholder theory and analysis
  • Partnership development
  • Formal and informal partnership structures
  • Town Centre Management
  • Business Improvement Districts
  • Trade Improvement Zones
  • Community Business Centres
  • Coalitions and alliances
  • Grass roots and social movements
  • Totally Locally
  • Transition Towns

Place Development Theory and Practice

This unit aims to introduce students to critical perspectives on 21st Century place development drawing on theoretical and empirical material from an international context.  Place development encapsulates different types and scales and places; for example, urban and rural places, neighbourhoods, cities and regions. The unit explores the influential theoretical underpinnings of place development, focusing on key readings of urban theorists, and scholars of regional and rural development. Themes covered include:

  • Restorative utopia
  • Structural, economic and political development
  • Planning for diversity, inclusion, complexity and creativity
  • ‘Govermentality’, surveillance and control
  • Understanding power inequalities within places, informal settlement and resistance
  • Globalisation and networked places
  • Understanding urban form and function
  • Sensing place and the image of the city

Each session will introduce you to an overview of the work of major theorists or themes, combined with critical reviews of the concepts underpinning contemporary urbanism and place development. The unit applies critical ideas and concepts to empirical studies of local development. You will address of range of topical issues including sustainability. This ensures a grounding in relevant theory and practice, and will equip you with the critical knowledge and skills required in understanding contemporary place development issues and interventions.

This first element of this unit introduces you to the collation and analysis of spatial and geographical data sets drawing on methods and techniques from Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

The second element introduces you to approaches to methods in business forecasting, modelling and planning in the context of place management.

The final element of unit requires you to present and disseminate spatial data in a creative and informative manner. The aim of this unit is to develop your critical spatial anaylsis and forecasting skills and understanding of how social and environmental processes vary in time and space and affect places.

First, drawing on geographical literature, you will be introduced to the history and development of place as a concept, including:

  • Space and place
  • Bounded place, nested and networked places
  • Fuzzy places
  • Ethics of places

You will learn about historical and contemporary mapping and cartographic techniques and critically reflexive understandings of place representations.

Secondly, you will be required to collate, evaluate and analyse place related secondary data from relevant sources, for example, the Census, crime, property and rental values, employment and social data and open source datasets.

Thirdly, you will learn techniques to produce meaningful information from secondary data sets and develop skills in synthesising (displaying), forecasting (quantitative and judgemental techniques), modelling and scenario planning. You will also become familar with ways of disseminating information related to long term strucutural change affecting the future development of localities.

Research Methods

This unit will develop your critical thinking, reflective writing and other study skills — including analysis and referencing — to successfully study at Masters level and in particular to introduce students to general research methods needed to successfully develop a dissertation proposal or research brief. Key topics covered include:

  • The nature and purpose of research
  • How to undertake and go about research
  • What makes good research
  • Critical reading
  • The importance of critically assessing an academic paper
  • Understanding research paradigms/philosophies
  • Ethical issues associated with research
  • Effectively analysing data qualitatively and quantitatively
  • Writing up your findings
  • Producing a research project


You are expected to identify, structure, frame and investigate a complex managerial or business issue and produce a substantial written document of their achievements and conclusions. You may fulfil the requirements of the unit by undertaking one of five types of dissertation:

  • Consultancy based: Answering distinct research questions, which are triggered by an issue of strategic or operational importance to a specific place. This mainly features conducting fieldwork (collecting primary data) in the place, with the objective of offering an appropriate short to medium term solution to the location, and also drawing out the implications for the wider professional practice.
  • Empirically based: Answering distinct research questions, which are triggered by an issue of strategic or operational importance. This mainly features conducting fieldwork (collecting primary data) with the objective of drawing out the implications for the wider professional practice.
  • Library based: Answering distinct research questions, which are triggered by an issue of strategic or operational importance, mainly by gathering secondary data and doing a meta-analysis of published interpretations of existing data sets, with the objective of drawing out the implications for the wider professional practice.
  • Action Learning: Reflective examination and interpretation of a problem-solving, ‘action intervention’ made by the author in his/her place through the lens of relevant literature with the objective of demonstrating insights and enhanced competence, and drawing out the implications for the wider professional practice.
  • Enterprise-based Location Plan: The development a location plan for a social enterprise, underpinned by secondary data and fieldwork on the proposed location, with the objective of a possible launch of a small enterprise partnership.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment details

All assessments are designed to have impact on specific locations.

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

Normally a good UK honours degree (minimum 2:2), or international equivalent, in any subject. We will also consider your application if you have significant, relevant experience or degree-equivalent profession qualifications. International students please see

IPM Membership

As part of the agreement between the University and the Institute of Place Management, it is a requirement that in order to be enrolled on to this course all students must be members of IPM. Therefore if you are applying to join the programme, you must be a member of the Institute in order for your application to be accepted.

You can find out more about the Institute by visiting

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

Advanced Standing

If your qualifications are relevant, you may be eligible for ‘entry with advanced standing'. This entry route gives academic credit for your current qualifications. 

Please note, advanced standing applications cannot be made using the apply online feature. If this applies to you, please instead complete the Postgraduate Application Form.

Career options after the course

Two thirds of over 400 surveyed UK town centre managers have identified that they want additional development in this area. Graduates are expected to combine their Place Management qualification with their current qualifications and personal achievements to develop a unique profile that stands out from other candidates.

Previous students to this course have been experienced place managers, who want to develop their conceptual and strategic skills as well as their technical understanding of how places change and develop.  The course has enabled them to take on more senior and strategic roles as well as move into other areas such as research, consultancy and teaching.  

“The tutors’ knowledgeable, challenging and sympathetic take on the world of place management has been inspirational”

“The MSc Place Management has enabled me to be a better place manager, with a renewed understanding of people and places”.  

“My town centre has benefited from my learning experience and research”


Course Enquiries

For general enquiries, entry requirements, fees, accommodation and more, please contact the course enquiries team.

Questions about the course content can be answered by the course leader, Professor Cathy Parker.

Email or find out more about the course leader

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.