Urban Design and the Entrepreneurial City: Place Branding Theory and Methods

Urban Design and the Entrepreneurial City: Place Branding Theory and Methods

Alamira Reem Bani Hashim (University of California Berkeley, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0579-2.ch005
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Abstract

This chapter reviews and synthesizes literature from the many disciplines that have contributed to the creation of knowledge in the domain of place branding, moving away from the conventional literature on place marketing and looking at the fields of environmental psychology, architecture and urban planning. The chapter is structured in two main parts. Part One situates branding in theories of place identity, city image, and city design. Part Two reviews three different approaches to place branding methodology that are all centered on the study of image, reputation or perception. The chapter argues that studies of place branding to date have not given the ‘place' component the attention it deserves and the question of how place branding influences urban form has not been sufficiently addressed. Only by bringing urban design analytical methods to bear on the question of how branding manifests itself in social and physical environments will a better ‘fit' be achieved in the city, between the images projected and the reality on the ground.
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Introduction

Owing to the global transformation processes of the contemporary capitalist and experience economy, cities are engaged in a myriad of activities to attract attention, capital, upper-class residents and tourists. Place branding is one of these activities, such that cities worldwide are increasingly involved in constructing images and representations of their locations in order to keep up with (or stay ahead of) new trends in culture, experience and design (Florida, 2002; Jensen, 2007). They are branding their businesses, culture, society and heritage to gain prominence on the global map, a practice that has grown exponentially in the last decade (Haider, 2008; Dinnie, 2008; Bani Hashim, Irazábal & Byrum, 2010).

The rising popularity of place branding as a strategy to enhance cities’ competitiveness has in turn increasingly involved planners and designers, whether intentionally or not. Because of this, it behooves planners and designers to understand how place branding manifests itself in physical and social environments. If we are to work within the context and processes of place branding, how can we best steer it to guide the city’s development in a sustainable manner and therefore create a sustainable place brand? How can we best achieve ‘fit’ in the city, between the images projected and the reality on the ground? Questions like these compel the urgency to understand the present role of place branding and place-making.

The aim of this chapter is to advance a scholarly perspective on place branding, seeking specifically to understand how place branding is situated in theory and what methods have been used to analyze it. These questions form the premise and the structure of this chapter.

Part One undertakes a thorough review of the literature from the many disciplines that have contributed to the creation of knowledge in the domain of place branding, attempting to move beyond the conventional literature on branding (within marketing and brand management), and specifically privileging the themes and perspectives concerned with the role of and influence on city design, image and identity.

Following the above, this chapter suggests that studies of place branding to date have not given the ‘place’ component the attention it deserves. Questions such as “How can one examine the ways in which place branding shapes urban form?” or “How does place branding influence ‘sense of place’?” have not been sufficiently addressed. The necessity to anchor studies of ‘place’ within investigations in place branding cannot be over-emphasized, because in order to engage in a discussion of branding places, one ought to understand ‘place’. Therefore, Part Two aims to make a humble contribution to the literature by bringing urban design analytical methods to bear on the questions of how branding manifests itself in physical and social environments.

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