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Eduardo Oliveira and Gregory J. Ashworth

This chapter critically scrutinizes the actual and potential roles of place branding as an instrument for the attainment of strategic spatial planning goals. The chapter also aims to critically discuss the challenges and opportunities of branding regions, a spatial scale seldom explored in academic and grey literatures. By presenting and discussing the challenges and opportunities involved in the process of branding regions, the chapter emphasizes the relevance and effectiveness of regional branding processes in supporting economic and social spatial realignment through the shaping of envisioned and collectively defined futures. Collectively defined futures, as the literature in both fields – place branding and strategic spatial planning – elucidates, requires the engagement and careful consideration of those whom a spatial strategy and ultimately a region brand must serve – the territory and those interacting with it. The involvement of key regional actors as well as community participation in strategic spatial planning and place branding strengthens the place brand independently of its scale of application. The chapter proceeds as follows. Firstly, it clarifies the authors’ understanding of place branding as an instrument for the attainment of strategic spatial planning goals. Secondly, civic and institutional participation is critically appraised in light of the literature of place branding and strategic spatial planning. Thirdly, it discusses the roles of strategic spatial planners in branding regions. Finally, the challenges and opportunities of branding regions are discussed and conclusions regarding such an approach are presented.

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Rafael Celestino Soares, Wellington Ferreira da Silva Filho, Laryssa Sheydder de Oliveira Lopes and Eduardo da Silva Guimarães

GeoPark Araripe presents itself as a bold strategy of territorial development. It is located in the State of Ceará, Northeastern Brazil, comprising nine geosites. These geosites link six municipalities, giving them, in diversity, a unity. They are: Barbalha, Crato, Juazeiro do Norte, Missão Velha, Nova Olinda and Santana do Cariri. The distinctive paleontological richness, the endemic biodiversity, the archaeological content left by the ancient Kariris Indians, the landscape beauty and the culture of the Cariri people are elements of a scenario where geotourism contributes to a more democratic management of the territory and with the impression of the Cariri people. Thus, geology, paleontology, archeology, ecology, history and culture combine for the development of communities, recognizing identities especially in the form of innovative and sustainable local economic activities.