Re-imagining the City: Branding Migration-Related Diversity

Belabas, W., Eshuis J., and P. Scholten 

Accepted for publication in European Planning Studies. 

Abstract:

This paper aims to unravel how superdiverse cities re-imagine themselves in response to migration-related diversity. We use a comparative case study on the branding strategies of two Dutch cities, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The paper shows that diversity is part of the brand identity in both cities, but not used prominently in the brand communications. When used in brand communications, diversity is framed strategically (as ‘cosmopolitan’ and ‘international’) for two reasons: (1) to turn it into an asset that enhances the brand, and (2) to align the brand with existing policies and political discourses on migration, and accommodate political pressures. This shows that place brands are developed in the midst of wider discursive and politicized policy settings.