Abstract submitted to the International Conference in Urban Development and Politics in Europe and Russia
International Conference, St. Petersburg, October 28-30, 2011 Urban Development and Politics in Europe and Russia Urban Politics, Policies and GovernancePlace Brand Management and the New Challenges for Urban Spaces. Development and Competitiveness in the northwest Portuguese cities: Barcelos, Braga, Guimarães and Viana do Castelo.Different geographical areas compete in order to attract residents, investments, markets, tourists, aswell as the hosting of cultural and sporting events. We observe a new balance of powers in theglobalized economic, cultural and social puzzle. A consistent and cooperative work between placestakeholders is required. Territories, as cities throughout the world, including Portuguese cities, areincreasingly implementing the methods and techniques of place branding in pursuit of urbanmanagement goals.Today, urban places are acquiring a key geopolitical importance in the shaping of worldwide flows andexchanges, playing a role in modern socio economic relations within the framework of the globalizedworld. Strategic marketing based in place branding theory and management approaches have beenimplemented into the field of territories, especially cities, which are adopting these approaches to sellwhat they have to offer in order to manage and compete more effectively (Muñiz-Martínez andCervantes-Blanco 2009: 1). The marketing approaches by public planning entities, as local governmentshas been seen as a philosophy of place management (Ashworth and Voogd 1990: 39; Kavaratzis 2004:59). One of the purposes of place branding process for urban places is to create strategies to promotean area (or the entire city) for several activities and, in some cases, to “sell” parts of the city for living,consuming and productive activities (Smyth 2005: 2).Barcelos, Braga, Guimarães and Viana do Castelo are urban places in the north of Portugal, located inthe Minho region. In the last years, these cities and all the Minho region, suffered, in their structures,the changes in the world economy, the emerging markets and strong dependency upon the textileindustry.This paper assesses place branding as a management tool in the areas of Barcelos, Braga, Guimarãesand Viana do Castelo, striving to identify a new status quo for development and competitiveness usingqualitative and quantitative data analysis. By enhancing the relevance of place branding in themanagement of territories, the proposal will focus on developing a practical framework able to supportlong-term economic sustainability.Key-words: Cities, Place branding, Place management, Strategy, Competitiveness, Development.