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Imagining Urban Futures Programme working paper

This working paper is part of the Imagining Urban Futures Programme working paper series

Conferences, informational infrastructures and mobile policies: The case of Business Improvement Districts in Sweden

Ian Cook and Kevin Ward


This paper makes a contribution to the fledgling literature on policy mobilities. Using the example of the internationalisation of the Business Improvement District model, it argues that conferences constitute important arenas in and through which both the mobilising and embedding of urban policies can occur. Focusing on an important two-day conference that took place in Sweden during 2009, it uses the language of trans-urban policy pipelines in order to capture the formation of relationships over distance as a means of comparing, educating and learning about the experiences of other cities. Revealing the complex architectures and ecologies that have underpinned the movement of this model from one country to another, one city to another over the last two decades or so, the paper uses a combination of ethnographic techniques together with semi-structured interviews and questionnaires with organisers and participants to produce a single-site but relationally thick description of the place of conferences in facilitating the movement of policies across space.

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