The Reinvention of Place: Complexities and Diversities

Authored by: Torill Nyseth

The Ashgate Research Companion to Planning and Culture

Print publication date:  September  2013
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409422242
eBook ISBN: 9781315613390
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042167


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This chapter relates to the discourse on reinvention that is affecting most cities or towns these days. In the postmodern, global society it has become more important than ever for places to be attractive to newcomers, investors and tourists, but also in the eyes of its own inhabitants. In the global competition between places local actors are fighting to attract industrial investors and offer them the best possible terms to convince them to invest in their specific place. Identity, sense of place and local distinctiveness are key features of the competitive success of places (Murray 2001). This expanding discourse on place branding and selling is addressed in this chapter through a critical and analytical social science perspective. The rationale behind ideas such as place branding and promotion is questioned. While branding is an active strategic and deliberate policy for changing the image of a place, place reinvention is underpinned by more contingent and discrete processes of change. Place reinvention goes beyond place branding and directs attention towards the relationship between symbolic and imaginative change and planned regeneration or place development. In this chapter I will elaborate further on the concept of place reinvention and its dimensions and practices through a theoretical reflection illustrated with examples form the Nordic periphery.

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