Place branding is one of my passions. I’ve been too lucky to work on branding programs that connect people and places around the world, from destinations to developments, retail environments and flag carrying airlines. What made those projects unique? Geography, space, architecture and program, national aspirations, cultural identity… a designer could not ask for a richer palette to work with.
Back in 2007, I wrote From Place to Stage, as a way to organize my ideas around the changing role of public and private space, and my approach to place branding. Focusing on four scales (nation, city; district and development) the article weaves salient ideas from authors like Wally Olins (brand and national identity); Saskia Sassen (cities and the global flows of capital) and Anna Klingmann (the merging of place, design and experience).
One of the luxuries of age is to be able to look back and evaluate one’s ideas. I recently re-read From Place to Stage and think it was spot on for the past decade. I also wish I had expanded into other concepts: balancing development and sustainability; the political and social obligations of place making; the risks of nation branding. Sadly, those were topics that were being discussed as warnings ten years ago, but gained urgency much faster than predicted.
You can download the original article below.
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