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Ambassadors, Business Improvement District Governance and Knowledge of the Urban


  • Randy Lippert
  • Mark Sleiman


This article explores practices of uniformed, mobile ‘hospitality’ teams called ambassadors in Canadian downtown cores through document analysis and in-depth interviews with ambassadors, police and business improvement district (BID) personnel. The study reveals how ambassadors conduct surveillance and produce knowledge to remake downtowns for a consumption-oriented order, the institutions to which knowledge is transferred and for what purposes. The paper argues that the significance of ambassadors in downtown cores cannot be reduced to a physical security function. Rather, ambassadors’ scope is broader and reflects BIDs’ peculiar and precarious institutional position in urban governance, one that is highly dependent on knowledge for shaping and encouraging downtown consumption, justifying practices to its mandatory membership and board, and persuading other institutions to do its bidding.

Suggested Citation

  • Randy Lippert & Mark Sleiman, 2012. "Ambassadors, Business Improvement District Governance and Knowledge of the Urban," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 49(1), pages 61-76, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:49:y:2012:i:1:p:61-76

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