17 June 2023
Institute of Place Management Chair, Professor Cathy Parker has been awarded an MBE in the King’s Birthday honours.
The honour was awarded in recognition of services to education and to place management. It is the first time that the discipline of place management has been cited in the honours list in this way.
Championing people and places
In over 20 years of researching and supporting high streets, Prof Parker has become a leading authority on place and was recommended for the honour as a champion of towns and cities, and the people that make them.
Cathy has been instrumental in leading the Government’s High Streets Task Force since 2019 which has helped hundreds of communities to transform their high streets.
The High Streets Task Force is the latest in a long line of collaborations and research focused on the changing nature of district, town and city centres. Cathy's approach is uniquely hands-on and has seen her work with residents, small and medium-sized enterprises, local authorities, place managers, and other local organisations around the UK and Europe to bring about positive change.
'Testament to all who strive to make their local places'
Commenting on the honour, Cathy said:
“I am absolutely gobsmacked to find out that I have been awarded an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours for my contribution to education and place management.
“But I shouldn’t be surprised - because this award is testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole of IPM, both the team that work with me at Manchester Metropolitan University, and all our members who strive to make their local places better.
“I am so grateful for the support and encouragement of all those who have helped create and grow the IPM, the Journal of Place Management and Development, our MSc programme in Place Management and Leadership, as well as the amazing partners we work with on projects such as the High Streets Task Force. On a personal note, none of my professional achievements would have been possible without the understanding and support of my family and friends. I would also like to thank the people that nominated me, the Prime Minister for putting my name forward, and the King for giving me this honour.
“I am truly humbled and I look forward to continuing to make a positive impact on places through helping even more place leaders and place partnerships make the changes they want to see.”
Research and knowledge
Prof Parker has managed more than £10 million in research and consultancy projects at the Institute, including the successful High Streets UK 2020 project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, to identify the factors that make a difference to the vitality and viability of town centres.
She led on the UK Government-commissioned report ‘High Street 2030: Achieving Change’, which led to the creation of the High Streets Task Force.
Cathy is also the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and competitive conference papers, where her research in the REF2021 was recognised as ‘world-leading’. She has also been a prominent public speaker, appearing frequently on high-profile national TV and radio, discussing the issue and opportunities facing the UK’s high streets.