31 July 2014

Place branding as a strategic spatial planning instrument

Original Article

Place Branding and Public Diplomacy , (30 July 2014) | doi:10.1057/pb.2014.12

Place branding as a strategic spatial planning instrument

Eduardo Oliveira
Places are facing major challenges at the environmental, financial and economic levels. These crucial issues demand structural changes and emphasise the need for robust strategic thinking and active instruments that shape and frame what a place is and what it aims to become. As traditional planning instruments become markedly less effective, spatial planners are required to develop new instruments that cope more effectively with the challenges they face in an unbalanced, dynamic and complex environment, while at the same time addressing the social, spatial and economic needs of a place. Place branding has been used to foster economic restructuring, social inclusion and cohesion, political engagement and participation, place identification, and the general well-being of citizens. This article aims to contribute to the academic debate by discussing why and how place branding can be used as an instrument in strategic spatial planning to support a structural change in places. This conceptual article emphasises that place branding as a strategic spatial planning instrument can contribute to improvement of economic and social structure of places and reshape responses to contemporary challenges faced by places.

27 July 2014

What do countries really mean when they say “We need a brand”?

What do countries really mean when they say “We need a brand”?

Meet Jose Filipe Torres, one of the best-known country branding practitioners in the world.
We had an opportunity to pick his brain on the most pressing issues related to place branding. We asked, he answered. Candidly… This is the first installment of a three-article interview series with Jose Filipe Torres. Without further ado let’s turn to Jose and hear what he has to say…
In the field of country branding, Jose is a genuine trailblazer. In 2002, he developed the Portuguese Trade Investment brand. Back then he was working for Futurebrand, and that was the first ever country-branding project completed by that firm! In 2003, he founded Bloom Consulting, specializing in country branding, city branding and regional branding. Bloom Consulting’s Country Brand Ranking that he developed in 2011 quickly became a popular research tool, used by practitioners from around the world. Over the last decade Bloom Consulting helped develop or manage the brands of Latvia, Poland, Bulgaria, Spain, and Madrid among others. Thanks to its new proprietary tool “Digital Demand”, Bloom Consulting can measure every country’s desirability in terms of attracting tourists and investment.

Digital challenges in destination branding with references to Portugal

Content, context and co-creation: Digital challenges in destination branding with references to Portugal as a tourist destination

  1. Eduardo Henrique da Silva Oliveira e.h.da.silva.oliveira@rug.nl
    1. Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen
  2. Emese Panyik
    1. Catholic University of Portugal, Portugal


Content generated by tourists, travellers, professional travel bloggers and travel journalists who post, comment and share information on social media channels is arguably the greatest digital challenge of destination branding today. The tourist-/traveller-generated content is likely to generate brand value if integrated into the destination branding strategy. There is, however, a lack of theoretical awareness and empirical research into the role of social media content in shaping destination brands. By taking Portugal as a case study, this exploratory research is aimed to show how content analysis can be used to identify and understand the way tourists and travellers perceive the country as a tourist destination. The application of this methodology on online material could contribute to a refined destination branding initiative for Portugal by integrating user-generated and travel experts content into the strategy. It applies textual content analysis by using qualitative data analysis software (i.e. ATLAS.ti 7.0), within an interpretative paradigm, on tourism-oriented online publications in which the tourism potential of Portugal has been discussed. The findings highlight the tourist/traveller as an opinion maker with access to a plethora of information communication technologies to act as co-creators of brands. Therefore, it is wise to engage them and strategically integrate the content they generate into the whole destination branding effort.


15 July 2014

Forthcoming RSA conferences Forthcoming Regional Studies Association conferences

Forthcoming Regional Studies Association conferences

6th October, 2014 - 9th October, 2014
OPEN DAYS 2014 University Master Class (ODU-MC) on EU Cohesion Policy- Brussels, Belgium

30th October, 2014 - 31st October, 2014
Regional Studies Association Early Career Conference 2014 - Sheffield, UK

27th November, 2014 - 28th November, 2014
Sustainable Recovery?  Rebalancing, Growth, and the Space Economy - London, UK

24th May, 2015 - 27th May, 2015
Global Growth Agendas: Regions, Institutions and Sustainability - Piacenza, Italy

NOTE: We have a number of bursaries available for some of this conferences. Please check the link if you are interested


CALL for PAPERS: Regional Studies Association Conference 2015

Regional Studies Association Conference 2015 

Global Growth Agendas: Regions, Institutions and Sustainability - Piacenza, Ital

Conference details

Abstract submission deadline: Friday 30th January 2015
We have a number of bursaries available for this conference you can find more information here
We welcome proposals for special sessions, themed workshops and innovative forms of networking and collaboration. If you would like to organise a session at the conference please use the special session cfp template located in Related Documents.
Read More

11 July 2014

Great idea

Food truck with a difference: Converted bus brings fresh produce to low-income neighbourhoods

Tuxedo Court, Mornelle Court, Neptune Drive, Old Meadow Lane: deserts, all.
Don’t be fooled by lush lawns, trees and access to fresh water; in a food desert, the mirage is the place selling inexpensive, fresh produce among the fast-food outlets and overpriced grocery chains. Trying to assemble ingredients for a good, healthy salad, or filling a pot with enough veggies to feed a big family without breaking the bank, is next to impossible here and, unfortunately, a city as big as Toronto has plenty of them.


The problem is, they’re invisible to those of us with healthy incomes. On Old Meadow Lane in Lawrence Heights, for example – while it’s only an eight-minute walk to traverse the noisy half-kilometre to Fortino’s at Lawrence Square Shopping Centre – a $20 budget won’t get a low-income person very far. And speaking of far, the 1.3 kilometres to the Metro at Lawrence and Bathurst isn’t worth the half-hour round-trip (which can be a lot longer if you use a walker or have a couple of fussy kids), as the only things one might buy there are items that have been reduced.
“By the time produce is on special there, the quality is so poor,” explains Afua Asantewaa of FoodShare Toronto. “If it’s not a discount grocery store like FreshCo or No Frills, they’re generally not accessible to the residents in the neighbourhoods we serve.”
If only there were a way to get fresh food directly to these dinner-tables-in-the-desert.… That was the conversation in 2012, says Ms. Asantewaa, 45, who co-ordinates FoodShare’s Mobile and Good Food Markets, when the dream was to convert a full-sized TTC bus into a mobile produce market, just like the “Fresh Moves” program in Chicago had done. While FoodShare was getting by using a cube van, staff craved something customized for the task; however, limited real estate and a limited budget soon squashed the full-sized bus plan, and discussion turned to a smaller Wheel-Trans bus.
And while the TTC stepped up and donated one, a major redesign to showcase the fresh wares still had to take place if the new Mobile Good Food Market was to become a reality. To that end, LGA Architectural Partners, headed by the dynamic duo of Janna Levitt and Dean Goodman, came to the rescue and offered their services pro bono.
“This is what we love and motivates us about architecture,” offers Mr. Goodman, who also worked on the converted shipping containers that now make up Market 707 at Scadding Court Community Centre. “It’s not what the particular design is, but more about the critical issue: Can we use our skill to make our city and community a better place to live in.” The bus, the architect continues, should function as a “food stand,” so, with the help of fabricator Crew Chief Conversions, an entire side was cut open and put on hinges to create an awning and create an instant gathering-space.
“The design also offered the opportunity to shop from the inside in inclement weather,” he adds, pointing out that as a former Wheel-Trans bus, ramps for ease of entry and exit were already in place. “Good food is beautiful when displayed well, so when we decided we wanted this to be a feature we worked out the mechanism so one person could fold out the shelves,
restock as necessary and display the food so it was attractive.”
It’s true: When parked and fully merchandized, you hardly see the bus. Instead, it’s a visual feast of cascading bins of leafy lettuce, onions and berries, and more exotic fare such as okra or yuca (cassava) to reflect the wide range of ethnicities the bus serves. And, as luck would have it, says Ms. Asantewaa, some items cross international boundaries, which saves money when ordering from the Ontario Food Terminal: “I couldn’t order half a box [of okra]; whether it’s South Asian, West African, or Caribbean people, they all use okra, so it’s worked out really well.”
The 20-per-cent markup, which covers only the bus’s expenses, means $20 can go a very, very long way indeed(in fact, this writer saw quite a few folks fill a bag and get change back from a five). Plus, as with anything food-related, the Mobile Market’s weekly arrival is a great reason to socialize with neighbours and with the affable driver, Dave Perry. On Old Meadow Lane one June evening, a small, chatty crowd gathered around the bus and at the folding table a few metres away (where produce is weighed) well past the dinner-hour. Two men had even set up a chess game under the shade of a tree nearby in order to be part of the buzz.
“And the yam was very nice, bring back more yams,” said a muumuu-clad Jamaican lady to Mr. Perry.
“White yam, right?” he asks, punching a few notes into his iPad. “We can do that.”
“Tonight, I’m going to make vegetarian roti,” says another woman to her neighbour, holding up a colourful bag and matching it with a dazzling smile.
To create more happy scenes – and there are many produce-starved areas begging for service – will require more funding, says Ms. Asantewaa, as putting the bus on the road more than the current two-days-per-week has been difficult.
“Unless we get more funding,” she finishes, “it’s not likely to happen.”

9 July 2014

Regional Studies Association Winter Conference: Sustainable Recovery? Rebalancing, Growth, and the Space Economy

Regional Studies Association Winter Conference, November 27th- 28th, 2014, Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury, London, UK
Call for Papers
The Regional Studies Association would like to announce the high calibre of plenary speakers secured for the RSA Winter Conference, to be held on November 27th – 28th. Please submit your abstract (no more than 400 words, text only) by 18th August, 2014 via the online registration portal. 
Thursday 27th November, 2014
Friday 28th November, 2014
Opening Plenary Session: 
Professor Ron Martin, University of Cambridge, UK
Professor Philip McCann, University of Groningen, Netherlands
Panel Session: 
Chair, Professor Martin Jones, University of Sheffield, UKPanellists: 
Professor Gillian Bristow, Cardiff UniversityUK
Professor Henry Overman, London School of Economics, UK
Professor Nancey Green Leigh, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Professor Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, London School of Economics, UK
Election Pamphlet Panel Session:
Professor Andy Pike, Newcastle University, UK
Professor Ron Martin, University of Cambridge, UK
(Further details to be confirmed)
Closing Plenary:Amy Glasmeier, MIT, USA
Professor Michael Storper, London School of Economics, UK, Sciences-Po, France and UCLA, USA

For further information please visit www.regionalstudies.org/conferences or email Elizabeth Mitchell

8 July 2014

The Tour de France has come to the UK

The Tour de France has come to the UK
On the 5th July, the grand depart of the Tour de France will be taking place in Leeds, Yorkshire here in the UK. This will be the 101st Tour de France and it will be made up of 21 stages covering a distance of 3,656 kilometres.
To celebrate the Tour de France, we have added new content to our fantastic collection of cycling articles and all are still available to access for FREE.
Access over 100 free articles, special issues and books from the past 5 years, with subthemes covering Cycling in the City, Planning for Cycling, Sustainable Transport, Cycling for Leisure, Competitive Cycling, Improving Performance, Scientific Research into Cycling, and Drug Use in Cycling.
Let us know what cycling means to you @routledgegpu using #cyclingmeans

Kind regards,
Leah StanleyRoutledge Planning & Urban Journals

7 July 2014

Even for people who have no spiritual beliefs, a peaceful mind is important.


ESOMAR has been a great source of inspiration to me after my participation as student facilitator during the unforgettable ESOMAR Congress in Montreux in Switzerland and the ESOMAR Congress in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Actually I still using that super cool environmental friendly bag.

4 July 2014


The Regional Studies Association Early Career Conference 2014

High Street UK2020: 50 years of change - 10th July (9am - 1pm)

This is a quick message to invite you to a free half-day conference at Manchester Metropolitan University on Thursday 10th July to discuss recent work on High Street UK2020.  The event will be from 9am - 1pm at the Business School (Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6BH), but will also be streamed live over the internet to allow our international colleagues to join in the discussion. Together we will investigate:

1. The major forces of change that impact on the High Street.
2. What change can be managed at a local level.
3. Strategies for repositioning, reinventing, rebranding and restructuring the High Street.

Please register for FREE here - 

0900 – 0930 - Coffee/tea and registration
0930 – 1000 - Factors that influence High Street change and identifying priority action areas – Simon Quin, Institute of Place Management
1000 – 1030 - Understanding High Street change and forecasting the future for your High Street – Cathy Parker, Manchester Metropolitan University
1030 - 1100 - Break
1100 - 1130 - How to reposition your High Street – Steve Millington, Manchester Metropolitan University
1130 - 1200 - How to reinvent your High Street – John Pal, University of Manchester
1200 - 1230 - How to rebrand your High Street – Mihalis Kavartzis, University of Leicester
1230 - 1300 - How to restructure your High Street, Deborah Peel, University of Dundee

The conference is CPD accredited by the Institute of Place Management

We hope you can make it and just ask for catering purposes you register for free on the link below.

Many Thanks,

The IPM Team 

from Spain to Portugal in less than a minute.

THRILLSEEKERS have a new way of travelling internationally - with a zipline that takes holiday-goers from Spain to Portugal in less than a minute.
The attraction is the first - and currently only - zipline that transports users across an international border.
Passengers board in Sanlucar de Guadiana in Andalucia, Spain, before whizzing down the line at around 50mph and landing across the Guadiana River in Alcoutim, Portugal.
And thanks to time zone differences between the two nations, the 60 second journey will see the zipliners travel back in time one hour.

2 July 2014

The Regional Studies Blog: From RSA student member to RSRS Early Career Paper...

The Regional Studies Blog: From RSA student member to RSRS Early Career Paper...: This is a guest post by  the Regional Studies, Regional Science  Early Career Paper – Editor and Abstract Manager   Dr. Marijana Sumpor, Fe...

How countries are using the World Cup as a nation-brand booster - or otherwise

In my last postI shared my thoughts on country and city brand rankings. Now, I want to debate the entanglements of another competition, the FIFA World Cup 2014.
At first glance one can critically ask – is this another contribution to the massive debate on football? I’d like to reassure readers that I don’t plan to talk all about football, as my knowledge of that is rather weak. Instead I want to discuss another competition taking place in the shadows of the World Cup – a competition of 32 national images.

In the field of World Cup studies, Stuart Jeffries from The Guardian kicked off with a critical parallel discussion in A critical theoretic Marxist dialectical analysis of the World Cup song. Jeffries convincingly states that the song ‘is a brilliant critique of the ideology on which the World Cup, and indeed any purportedly unifying global sporting event, rests’.

As argued elsewheresporting, cultural and other entertaining events cannot create high impact on places if they are not integrated in a wider strategy. But do they attempt to enhance nation image and reputation? Or, as the World Cup anthem – ‘We Are One (Ole Ole)’ asks for – is the World Cup able to unite divided nations? Can it bring citizens together in support of their country, not only inside the playground?

Read more:

Special issue in European Planning Studies Spatial planning and place branding: rethinking relations and synergies

Introduction:  Kristof Van Assche, Raoul Beunen and Eduardo Oliveira  Rethinking planning-branding relations: an introduction . https:...