1st Edition

Naming Rights, Place Branding, and the Cultural Landscapes of Neoliberal Urbanism

    164 Pages
    by Routledge

    164 Pages
    by Routledge

    In recent decades, urban policymakers have increasingly embraced the selling of naming rights as a means of generating revenue to construct and maintain urban infrastructure. The contemporary practice of toponymic commodification has its roots in the history of philanthropic gifting and the commercialization of professional sports, yet it has now become an integral part of the policy toolkit of neoliberal urbanism more generally. As a result, the naming of everything from sports arenas to public transit stations has come to be viewed as a sponsorship opportunity, yet such naming rights initiatives have not gone uncontested.

    This edited collection examines the political economy and cultural politics of urban place naming and considers how the commodification of naming rights is transforming the cultural landscapes of contemporary cities. Drawing upon case studies ranging from the selling of naming rights for sports arenas in European cities and metro stations in Dubai to the role of philanthropic naming in the "Facebookification" of San Francisco’s gentrifying neighborhoods, the contributions to this book draw attention to the diverse ways in which toponymic commodification is reshaping the identities of public places into time-limited, rent-generating commodities and the broader implications of these changes on the production of urban space.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Urban Geography.


    Reuben Rose-Redwood, Jani Vuolteenaho, Craig Young and Duncan Light

    Introduction: Naming rights, place branding, and the tumultuous cultural landscapes of neoliberal urbanism

    Reuben Rose-Redwood, Jani Vuolteenaho, Craig Young and Duncan Light

    1. "This venue is brought to you by. . .": the diffusion of sports and entertainment facility name sponsorship in urban Europe

    Jani Vuolteenaho, Matthias Wolny and Guy Puzey

    2. Scalar tensions in urban toponymic inscription: the corporate (re)naming of football stadia

    Dominic Medway, Gary Warnaby, Leah Gillooly and Steve Millington

    3. Who owns the name? Fandom, social inequalities and the contested renaming of a football club in Timişoara, Romania

    Remus Creţan

    4. Data, dispossession, and Facebook: techno-imperialism and toponymy in gentrifying San Francisco

    Erin McElroy

    5. "Turn your brand into a destination": toponymic commodification and the branding of place in Dubai and Winnipeg

    Reuben Rose-Redwood, Maral Sotoudehnia and Eliot Tretter

    6. City renaming as brand promotion: exploring neoliberal projects and community resistance in New Zealand

    Robin Kearns and Nicolas Lewis

    Afterword: The names of urban dispossession

    David Madden


    Reuben Rose-Redwood is Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

    Jani Vuolteenaho is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki in Finland.

    Craig Young is Professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom.

    Duncan Light is Senior Lecturer in Tourism at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom.