Edited by Andy Pike
Chapter 18: Creativity, Brands, Finance and Beyond: Notes Towards a Theoretical Perspective on City Branding
Adam Arvidsson INTRODUCTION City branding is by now a widespread practice. In the last few decades, a great number of cities across Europe and the US have attempted to brand themselves out of post-industrial decline with varying degrees of success or, as in the case of Asia, transform themselves into attractive destinations for tourism and corporate relocation (Braun and Lavagna 2007). Arguably city branding can be seen as part of the overall turn to ‘entrepreneurial’ urban governance, which David Harvey (1989) locates to the mid-1970s. As a response to the decline of traditional manufacturing economies and to the emerging new global economy, a number of city governments have abandoned an earlier ‘managerial’ approach, which was primarily focused on the local provision of services and facilities. Instead they have put an emphasis on fostering new ways of local development and growth and, not least, encouraging success in the ‘zero sum competition’ now emerging between global cities for jobs and corporate relocation (see Sassen 2007). In this phase the brand comes to stand for and symbolize the new image that local government wishes to construct around the city. For example, the city of Copenhagen embarked on a wave of architectural expansion and invested heavily in officializing the city’s ‘underground’ cultural life through the support of a series of festivals and cultural events in order successfully to attract corporate head offices as an alternative to a declining industrial infrastructure (Hansen et al. 2001). However, in the most recent decade, the practice of city...
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