1st Edition

City Branding
The Ghostly Politics of Representation in Globalising Cities

ISBN 9781138595156
Published June 28, 2018 by Routledge
218 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

Since the 1990s, city branding has become a key factor in urban development policies. Cities all over the world take specific actions to manipulate the imagery and the perceptions of places, both in the eyes of the inhabitants and in those of potential tourists, investors, users and consumers.

City Branding: The Ghostly Politics of Representation in Globalising Cities explores different sides of place branding policies. The construction and the manipulation of urban images triggers a complex politics of representation, modifying the visibility and the invisibility of spaces, subjects, problems and discourses. In this sense, urban branding is not an innocent tool; this book aims to investigate and reflect on the ideas of urban life, the political unconscious, the affective geographies and the imaginaries of power constructed and reproduced through urban branding.

This book situates city branding within different geographical contexts and ‘ordinary’ cities, demonstrated through a number of international case studies. In order to map and contextualise the variety of urban imaginaries involved, author Alberto Vanolo incorporates conceptual tools from cultural studies and the embrace of an explicitly post-colonial perspective. This critical analysis of current place branding strategy is an essential reference for the study of city marketing.

Table of Contents


List of Figures

List of Boxes

Chapter 1 Introducing Urban Branding: A Spectral Metaphor

Chapter 2 The Evolution of the Place Branding Debate

Chapter 3 Neoliberalism, Consumption and the Institutional Frameworks of City Branding

Chapter 4 City Branding as a Politics of Representation: A Play with the Visible, the Invisible

and the Ghostly In-Between

Chapter 5 The Global, the Creative and the Smart City

Chapter 6 Symbols, Spectres and the Emotional Geographies of City Branding

Chapter 7 Assessment and Evaluation of Urban Brands, or, Disciplining Urban Spectres

Chapter 8 Concluding Remarks: Insurgent Ghosts and the Politics of City Branding


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Alberto Vanolo, PhD in spatial planning, is associate professor of political and economic geography at the University of Turin, Italy. His main research interests include urban studies and cultural geography. He is associate editor of the journal Cities.