Town Planning Review

All aboard Belfast’s ‘brandwagon’: from ‘pariah city’ to ‘energised city’

Town Planning Review (2021), 92, (6), 723–754.


The concept of brand personality is increasingly applied to the contemporary city. During the ‘Troubles’, Belfast - as a ‘pariah city’ - was contaminated with a sclerotic image. Recently it has been rebranded as a ‘post-conflict’ and ‘energised’ city. This paper reveals the significant image transformation in Belfast and its recent engagement with city brand personality. Despite significant progress on destination personality and brand identity, problems remain with regard to brand image and Belfast’s contested past. In addressing the important temporal dimension, this paper adds valuable new insights into our knowledge of city brand personality.

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Author details

Boland, Philip

McKay, Stephen