Place Branding & Strategic Spatial Planning: 2014 in review

Herewith my 2014 contributions to the place branding & strategic spatial planning debate as well as some reflections on the 'creative city' and today's urban planning practice published in various top academic journals. 
If you are interested, please email me and I will send you the PDF.

Thank you for being an attentive reader and an enthusiast commentator 

Oliveira, Eduardo & Panyik, Emese (2015). Content, context and co-creation: Digital challenges in destination branding with references to Portugal as a tourist destination
. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 21(1): 53-74. 
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. 

Oliveira, Eduardo (2015). Book Review - Good Cities, Better Places, Journal Urban Studies, 52(1): 197-200. 
With contributions from Nicholas Falk, founder Director of the URBED, Peter Hall’s new book, Good Cities, Better Lives: How Europe Discovered the Lost Art of Urbanism, is a critical, rigorous and deeply researched account of how to create better cities and towns in which citizens can live, work and play. In addition, the book adds much to the practice of urban planning, just as an emerging urban world and third wave of cities take shape on the global landscape (Scott, 2012). It provides lessons for countries facing urban dilemmas, social inequalities and spatial challenges. Emerging cities, intrinsically intertwined with complex globalisation processes, which bind them ever more tightly together as mutually dependent nodes, are facing a bewildering urban illness. (Download)

Oliveira, Eduardo (2014), 
The Tourism Potential of Northern Portugal and Its Relevance for a Regional Branding Strategy, Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Research Journal, 2(2): 54-78. 
The purpose of this article is to explore a potential regional 
branding strategy for the northern part of Portugal, emphasizing 
the regional tourism potential. Furthermore, it aims to clarify the 
answers of the following research questions: i) is tourism a 
strategic domain with the potential to integrate a branding strategy 
at the regional level? ii) is a regional branding strategy an engine 
by which to enable economic and social transformation in the 
region, thus responding to the contemporary challenges such as 
weak economic confidence and unemployment? To answer these 
questions, a content analysis on the policy documents: i) Northern 
Portugal Strategic Guidelines 2014-2020 and ii) National Strategic Plan 
for Tourism 2013-2015 has been performed. In addition, the article 
details the results of in-depth interviews conducted with two 
regional entities: i) Tourism of Porto and the North of Portugal 
(TPNP), in charge of national tourism planning and promotion and 
ii) North Regional Coordination and Development Commission 
(CCDRN), involved in regional planning and development. The 
findings reinforce the importance of tourism as a strategic domain 
to boost the economy and create momentum in Northern Portugal. 
Moreover, tourism is seen by the respondents as a key objective in 
a regional branding strategy. 

Oliveira, Eduardo (2014). Place branding as a strategic spatial planning instrument. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, doi:10.1057/pb.2014.12
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. (Download)

Oliveira, Eduardo (2014). Book Review - Reframing the ‘creative city’ through tailored and context-sensitive policies, Journal CITY: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 18(4/5):598-602 
Place-making and Policies for Competitive 
Cities is a book that investigates 
the relevance of pathways, place and 
personal networks in the fast-moving field 
of urban economic competitiveness. The 3Ps 
concept, together with urban policies tailored 
to the specific contexts in which cities 
operate, provide the theoretical framework 
and the structural logic for the book. 

Oliveira, Eduardo (2014): Book Review - Making Strategies in Spatial Planning-Knowledge and Values, European Planning Studies, 22(4): 885-888 
A mix of feelings crossed my mind when I decided to embrace the challenge of writing a 
book review for the European Planning Studies Journal. I started slightly fearfully, 
because of my “young” intellectual trajectory in the planning field. Nevertheless, I was 
passionately enthusiastic about doing it with an open mind and critical thinking. As a 
planner, I agree that thinking in new ways to address challenges is the cornerstone for territorial 
development and spatial transformation. 

Oliveira, Eduardo (2014): Conference Note - International Conference on Sustainable Issues and Challenges in Tourism, Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, 25(1): 150-152 
The International Conference on Sustainable Issues and Challenges in Tourism was held 
on 3–5 October 2013 at Bog˘azic i University, Istanbul, Turkey in order to celebrate the 
university’s 150th anniversary (1863–2013). The event was organized by Maria 
D. Alvarez (Bogazic i University, Turkey), in collaboration with Ali Bakir (Buckinghamshire 
New University, UK) and Eugenia Wickens (Help 2 Educate Foundation, UK). The 
conference featured high-quality presentations, bringing together perspectives from 
academicians and practitioners on the challenges that sustainability poses to tourism 
activities, destinations, stakeholders, and organizations. The programme was designed to 
provide a platform to exchange ideas, concepts, and best practices. The goal was to 
contribute towards a deeper understanding of the complex topic of sustainability in 
tourism, as Professor Maria D. Alvarez underlined during the welcoming remarks. 

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