Town Planning Review

Hijacking culture: the disconnection between place culture and place brands

Town Planning Review (2015), 86, (2), 155–176.

Abstract

This article argues that the dominant understanding of culture within place branding is inadequate and leads to disconnection between local culture and the place brand. The article discusses significant tensions arising from an evident oversimplification of the relationship between place brands and culture. This relationship is reconstructed through a re-appreciation of its complexity and reciprocity. The article provides a refined appreciation of the role of place brands in the production of culture as well as of the cultural nature of place brands and explores the implications of such thinking. Synergies are found in clarifying the formation and function of place brands as cultural phenomena, and, particularly, in understanding the link that culture provides between locals, their place and its brand. The simultaneous consideration of culture in, for and of the place and the related analytical, strategic and participatory aspects of place branding are highlighted as resolutions to the evident tensions.

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Kavaratzis, Mihalis

Ashworth, Greg