Key takeaways from the World Town’s Leadership Summit 2019

Written by Jason Nesbitt Topics: BID, Blog

Last week saw the 4th World Town’s Leadership Summit held in Tokyo by the International Downtown Association (IDA), with attendees from around the world coming together to share ideas for progressive place management. The outline agenda can be viewed here.


The conference gave interesting insight into the developing world of BIDs in Japan and the current Area Management taking place in the country across the 41 area management networks. Whilst there are many stark differences between area management in Japan in contrast with the western BIDs, many similarities remain in the overall goals. Themes such as increasing vibrancy, cleaning, preventing crime and improving transport are very reminiscent of the agendas we see in the UK.


On day 1 a Knowledge Sharing Forum took place with speakers from 8 countries sharing insights from place management. Representing the UK Sophie Hainsworth from LoyalFree shared ‘A UK perspective on how consumers want to engage with places using technology.’ The agenda of speakers can be viewed here and the slides from our presentation can be viewed here.

As the conference continued there were visits around Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto to see place management in action. Not to mention an insightful cruise along the Sumida river to hear about the upcoming development of the waterfront in Tokyo and plans for the 2020 Olympics.


After an incredibly interesting few days in Japan we wanted to share our top takeaways with you:

  1. Management is as important as development and as such strong public-private partnerships are essential to bring investment to an area and a variety of resources
  2. It is important for cities to be authentic in creating experiences which are unique to them and their heritage, rather than repeating what may have worked in other areas. The use of public art and so forth here can nurture the culture of an area making it interesting for people
  3. Working with academics allows actions to be based on research and data collected over many years
  4. Combining human creativity and technology is key to leading innovation in place management
  5. Consumers want to know what a place has to offer before they visit and are inclined to do their research looking for information in an easy to digest format. Using interactive technology, such as apps and digital trails, can help cater to groups based on their individual needs and curating the content
  6. Activities and events should be inclusive for all for example by rotating the types of events held in a place to cater to different preferences. The agenda of ‘Places for People’ is key in planning activities. We saw this live in action with road closures in Tokyo allowing for street parks to pop up to create an area for workers to socialise (and we even witnessed a cross-company tug of war competition taking place there!)

For anyone interested in finding out more about the summit for 2020 please contact the IDA via email to [email protected] or visit their website to find out more.

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