Special Issue "City Branding and Sustainable Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 July 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Management, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
Interests: local governance; public sector innovations; electronic government; globalization; creative city; smart city; wellness city; city branding

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will comprise a selection of articles addressing the intersection of city branding and sustainable development. In essence, city branding is the development and utilization of collective symbolic capital in promoting urban growth and development, as manifested by the consciously created brands like ‘I Amsterdam’ or ‘People Make Glasgow’ and by more or less organically developed brands or competitive identities, such as Paris as a city of romance or Copenhagen and Portland as leading green cities. Whatever the genealogy of the brand image or the degree of brand control by the city government, a good brand provides the city with competitive edge at both national and global levels.

It is a widely held view among branding experts and the representatives of city governments that city branding should not be limited to a narrowly defined place promotion. Rather, it should be seen in a broader context of social, economic, and environmental development. This implies, among other issues, that the perspective of city branding should be broadened to cover such themes as climate change, circular economy, intelligent urbanism, splintering urbanism, socio-cultural change, ageing society, and inclusive growth. In short, branding can be used as a tool for building not only competitive but also responsible and sustainable cities.

This Special Issue welcomes papers that discuss various aspects of sustainability-oriented city branding, including, for example, such topics as: the role of sustainability, livability and holistic wellness and well-being in city branding; social and environmental responsibility in a city brand strategy; greening the economic development brand; the role of sustainability in helping to increase the attractiveness of a city among investors, talent, tourists, or inhabitants; the role of city branding in building socially balanced and inclusive communities; the relationship between city branding and sustainable urban design; the governance of brand-oriented transformative placemaking and town center management processes that contribute to the development of inclusive, livable and sustainable cities; and tensions between pro-growth vs. anti-growth coalitions in brand politics.

This Special Issue will be a unique collection of high-quality articles on sustainability-oriented city branding. If you are interested in any of the abovementioned themes, do not hesitate to submit your paper to this issue (see manuscript submission information below). Submitted manuscripts are subject to the conventional academic peer-review procedure.

Prof. Dr. Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • brand
  • city
  • city branding
  • environmentalism
  • ecological wellness
  • inclusive growth
  • placemaking
  • place promotion
  • social inclusion
  • sustainability
  • symbolic capital
  • urban design
  • urban development

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
From Eco-Civilization to City Branding: A Neo-Marxist Perspective of Sustainable Urbanization in China
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5608; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205608 - 12 Oct 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 954
Abstract
While the national discourse on ‘eco-civilization’ drives conceptual thinking on sustainable urban development in China, in practice a systematic implementation gap appears to exist when it comes to local implementation. This paper examines how the leakage occurring in the trajectory from central government [...] Read more.
While the national discourse on ‘eco-civilization’ drives conceptual thinking on sustainable urban development in China, in practice a systematic implementation gap appears to exist when it comes to local implementation. This paper examines how the leakage occurring in the trajectory from central government ideas to municipal and district level construction projects can be explained. More specifically, it aims to spot whether it is merely the result of mismatches resulting from ineffective interactions among players in the policy process, institutional misalignment between policy goals and policy instruments, or even if the mobilization of bias in the policy process is systematic enough to justify a neo-Marxist explanation of the abovementioned implementation gap. I found two main sources of structural bias: capital accumulation in the mechanisms for urban development and power accumulation in the mechanisms underlying the administrative process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue City Branding and Sustainable Development)
Article
City Brand Personality Projected by Municipalities from Central and Eastern Europe Countries—A Comparison of Facebook Usage
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5440; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195440 - 01 Oct 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 964
Abstract
City branding is becoming more and more popular, not only as a field of research, but also as a practice of local governments. Municipalities attempt to introduce this concept into their sustainable transformation process, positioning a city among its stakeholders as, for instance, [...] Read more.
City branding is becoming more and more popular, not only as a field of research, but also as a practice of local governments. Municipalities attempt to introduce this concept into their sustainable transformation process, positioning a city among its stakeholders as, for instance, an eco-oriented, innovative, or smart city. An idea that fosters building a strong and consistent city brand is brand personality. The aim of the paper is to diagnose a city’s brand personality dimensions/traits communicated via posts published on official Facebook accounts of cities and to identify differences occurring within this scope between cities of two selected Central and Eastern European countries—Poland and Ukraine. To achieve this aim, the research involved a content analysis of 1700 posts published by 34 municipalities representing regional capital cities of Poland and Ukraine. On the basis of these study results, the authors have supplemented the Aaker (1997) five-dimensional scale of brand personality with the sixth dimension: Prosocial Attitude, which includes cooperative and bureaucratic traits, to better comply with the approach of cities to problems of their inhabitants and their surrounding environment, which is consistent with the idea of sustainability. Furthermore, the fifth trait has been added to characteristics which make up Aaker’s Excitement dimension. Dubbed as patriotic, it refers to the city’s activities related to the local celebration of historical events, indicating national pride and identification with its place of residence. Bureaucratic and patriotic traits were quite frequently observed in posts published on the official Facebook accounts of Ukrainian cities. Moreover, the research proves that in case of Polish cities the dominating brand personality dimensions are Sincerity and Excitement. Ukrainian cities tend to exercise communication based on the Sincerity and Competence dimension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue City Branding and Sustainable Development)
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Article
City Branding Evaluation as a Tool for Sustainable Urban Growth: A Framework and Lessons from the Yangtze River Delta Region
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4281; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164281 - 08 Aug 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1308
Abstract
With the rising tide of globalization, urban branding campaigns have become the focal points of decision makers and planners aiming to establish city reputations and to achieve long-term urban prosperity. This paper, therefore, aims to develop a sustainability-oriented city branding framework that incorporates [...] Read more.
With the rising tide of globalization, urban branding campaigns have become the focal points of decision makers and planners aiming to establish city reputations and to achieve long-term urban prosperity. This paper, therefore, aims to develop a sustainability-oriented city branding framework that incorporates (1) comprehensive perceptions from various stakeholders through questionnaires and (2) empirical applications that evaluate the city-level potentials for a global mega-region in support of its sustainable growth. Seven major aspects, i.e., economic development, environment, potential, pulse, people, infrastructure, and governance, have been identified and assessed in the context of 26 prefecture cities in the Yangtze River Delta region. Moreover, a cluster analysis differentiated these cities into four groups with distinct characteristics and development paths. Through the framework and evaluation outputs, local planners, researchers, and decision-makers would be better placed to design and implement sustainable policy packages and incentives, with a quantitative insight into current strengths and weaknesses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue City Branding and Sustainable Development)
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Article
City Brand: What Are the Main Conditions for Territorial Performance?
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3959; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143959 - 21 Jul 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1009
Abstract
Territories and respective political agents recognize now the importance of being attractive, not only because of tourism, but also because this is an important feature to attract investment and even new residents. Based on this evolution, the concept of territory branding has been [...] Read more.
Territories and respective political agents recognize now the importance of being attractive, not only because of tourism, but also because this is an important feature to attract investment and even new residents. Based on this evolution, the concept of territory branding has been developed, with rankings like the Portugal City Brand measuring it. With the objective of explaining the most important conditions for territories to attain higher city branding and based on a large dataset, a factor analysis was applied to identify possible components to be used. With those components and using a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis, the main conditions for a better position in the ranking are identified. Results point to better identification of conditions to distinguish lower positioned municipalities, namely lack of economic conditions, of general conditions and low demographic indicators. Moreover, it is possible to conclude that the conditions of the different sub-rankings are different from the ones of the main ranking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue City Branding and Sustainable Development)
Article
Building a Place Brand on Local Assets: The Case of The Pla de l’Estany District and Its Rebranding
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3218; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113218 - 10 Jun 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1670
Abstract
The main objective of this article is to analyse whether the positioning of the Pla de l’Estany district, in Catalonia, can be redefined in a context of possible saturation of the sports brand that was structured thanks to the success of the 1992 [...] Read more.
The main objective of this article is to analyse whether the positioning of the Pla de l’Estany district, in Catalonia, can be redefined in a context of possible saturation of the sports brand that was structured thanks to the success of the 1992 Olympic Games. Furthermore, this article aims to analyse how to design and implement long-term public policies in place branding. The Pla de l’Estany district is one of the smallest in Catalonia and had its moment of splendour during the Barcelona Olympic Games, which positioned it as a place of natural beauty and sports tourism. However, twenty-five years later, we ask whether this positioning needs to be updated. This research deploys a methodological triangulation that combines in-depth interviews with opinion leaders, discussions in focus groups and an online survey open to citizens. This research presents three conclusions: it places the processes of citizen participation as a key element in the construction of territorial brands; refocuses the narrative of the territory of the Pla de l’Estany based on the concepts of “sustainable nature” and “traditional culture”; and conceptualises place branding not just from the perspective of promoting tourism, but also from that of fomenting sustainable governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue City Branding and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Visitor Perceptions and Effectiveness of Place Branding Strategies in Thematic Parks in Bandung City Using Text Mining Based on Google Maps User Reviews
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2123; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072123 - 10 Apr 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1243
Abstract
The city of Bandung, Indonesia contains thematic parks which use certain themes to highlight the features of the park. They are also used as a branding strategy for the city as a whole. As social networking has become a type of media used [...] Read more.
The city of Bandung, Indonesia contains thematic parks which use certain themes to highlight the features of the park. They are also used as a branding strategy for the city as a whole. As social networking has become a type of media used by most global populations to share experiences and stories and to influence perceptions, and because online reviews are one way to get potential positive information about the success of a business or service, we analyzed online reviews from the Bandung thematic parks. We identified that thematic parks have an influence on the branding of the city of Bandung. Data collection involved data extraction from Google Maps user reviews. Text mining was used to collect the information attributes needed to determine the public perceptions of thematic parks. Data analysis was used to determine the extent to which a park can be a benchmark for place branding in Bandung. This research found that the influence of the thematic park concept is a good strategy for the city of Bandung. Online reviews show that thematic parks in Bandung are better known than non-thematic parks, and that thematic parks get very good ratings and good opinions from online reviewers. This information is expected to be a reference for developing the concept of thematic parks, especially in the city of Bandung, and it can be used by the government, architects, and urban designers to get a better understanding of the users’ perceptions and as a benchmark for similar projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue City Branding and Sustainable Development)
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