Trying to Be Attractive

Image Building and Identity Formation in Small Swedish Industrial Municipalities

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Keyword: Attractive places, Place marketing, Image, Identity formation, Bergslagen, Industrial municipalities
Publication year: 2007
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 10 Reduced inequalitiesSDG 11 Sustainable cities and communities
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Efforts of creating and communicating positive images constitute a considerable part of contemporary regional development strategies. The use of place marketing has become a popular way to promote attractiveness for tourists, business and in-migrants in growth regions as well as in peripheral and economically vulnerable regions across Europe. In this article I explore the employment of place marketing as a development tool in specific local contexts. The study aims at understanding the role of place marketing in municipalities with experiences of negative development. The empirical material used consists of a case study with six small industrial municipalities in the Swedish Bergslagen region. Strategies of image building and place marketing are described and analysed by using a conceptual model of different cultural economy approaches to development. The case study indicates that place marketing should not only be looked upon as a matter of selling the municipality to outsiders such as tourists and potential in-migrants. In some types of municipalities, place marketing is rather a matter of building new images and selling itself to ‘insiders’ by creating a discourse of attractiveness.


Susanna Heldt Cassel

Högskolan Dalarna; Kulturgeografi
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