In his superbly written book Soft City, novelist and travel writer Jonathan Raban makes the following observation: “in our city, it is easy to drift into a privacy of symbols, a domain of subjective illusions made concrete by the fact that two or three people have gathered together to conspire in them” (Raban 2008, p. 143). Raban was referring to the behavior of individual citizens and their means of engaging with a vast and labyrinthine metropolis that can be overwhelming if not tamed through certain psychological approaches. But his observation may also be applied to the unhealthy power exercised by small coteries of politicians and marketing professionals who take it upon themselves to decide upon the symbols and “subjective illusions” that are used in branding cities. Crass slogans and risible logos emerge, and taint the whole concept and practice of branding places. To counter the usual over-emphasis on slogans, logos, PR and advertising, in this chapter I show how sustainable place branding can be conducted not by superficial communications techniques, but by tangible improvements in public infrastructure that benefit all those who work in the city or visit it or invest in it.
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- Improved Public Infrastructure and Sustainable Place Branding
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Chapter 13