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CRIM 3654
James Sheptycki

CRIM 3654 – FALL BOOK NOTES th Readings for November 29 Lippert and Sleiman: Ambassadors, Business Improvement District Governance and Knowledge of the Urban Introduction - Business Improvement District (BID) has become central to urban revitalisation projects - To effect its aspirations of creating a risk-free consumptive urban order and to justify its own governance role, the BID must watch, persuade and exchange with disparate institutions, including its mottled business constituency, police and city government - To do this, BID requires in-depth knowledge of specific features of the urban, especially publicly visible aspects deemed crucial to shaping and enhancing consumption practices and spaces - This knowledge is generated through ambassadors o These brightly uniformed, mobile teams are deployed to clear and cleanse the bumpy road to enhanced downtown consumption while collecting details of its physical contours and human travellers - BID-affiliated ambassadors seek to identify and help remove obstacles to enhanced consumption by patrolling for crime and ‘nuisance’ behaviours o Also seek to know and engage with business persons and consumers on the street - Knowledge gained is shared with BID boards, police, city government and other state agencies - Illustrates BID role as a knowledge broker within a broader urban governance assemblage - Ambassadors are studied primarily as a form of private security - Disproportional detrimental effects of these and related practices on the urban and often racialized poor, and the inequity of the subtle violation of their constitutional rights to use public space should not be understated - Ambassador ‘hospitality’ and other knowledge-producing practices are more than friendly camouflage for an authoritarian role on behalf of commercial interests - BIDs are sometimes deemed neo-liberal because they represent privately managed replacements for the alleged failure of city government to rejuvenate and efficiently manage downtown public space - Modan write that introduction of good will ambassadors threaten to disrupt street life, such as catching up with friends. The increased surveillance of street life has potential of deepening current social and ethnic cleavages and re-inscribing on the urban geography historical class, race, and racial prejudices - ambassador street surveillance also results in reporting to public agencies of hazardous elements and of neglected public infrastructure damage and various service inefficiencies BIDs and Ambassador Programmes - primary motivation of ambassador programmes is broader revitalisation schemes that reimagine urban economies broken by suburbanisation and globalisation o seek to create positive brand images thought to encourage economic investment and consumption - central to these endeavours is establishing BIDs within a targeted urban area - a BID is not merely an area; it is an entity comprising a corporate board and minimal personnel responsible for governing an area - BIDs attempt to construct and showcase consumer-oriented urban environments via streetscaping enhancements (banners), marketing events, and in some BIDs – security provisions - BIDs are knowledge-dependent - Training requires a hospitality component, cultural and historical awareness, tours of visitor attractions, communication protocol, and limited training from local police - Ambassador duties are to give directions, clean streets, dispense brochures, publicise marketing events, refer persons to social agencies and collect information for police BID Surveillance: Urban Refuse, Risk and Infrastructure - Ambassadors conduct surveillance for BID-specific purposes by watching downtown spaces - They are guided by rationality of ‘clean and safe’ derived from broken windows theory o If you take care of the appearance of an area then it might be less likely bad things will happen there - Emphasis on quantification and measurable output - Also hand out safety information to the public – risk management on the ground and the epitome of ‘clean and safe’ rationality - One practice central to BIDs on-going concerns is parking availability – biggest problem o Disadvantage when competing with suburban shopping malls endowed with free, sprawling lots The Business Constituency - Owns no private property - Everything is done by co-operation and persuasion - Labelled ‘malls without walls’ - Malls are devoid of expensive parking, visible garbage, broken liquor bottles, garbage, dark alleys, etc - Consumption commences by smoothly stepping unobstructed through a store’s broad opening from a climate-controlled, sanitised indoor concourse - Knowing the property owners and members of the BID is essential to routine ‘clean and safe’ practices o How can you clean graffiti off a building if you don’t know who owns it? Consumers - Ambassadors seek to distinguish flawed from preferred businesses and panhandlers from consumers o Once identified, good consumers and business persons are to be engaged wi
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