Branding the City: The Democratic Legitimacy of a New Mode of Governance

Jasper Eshuis, Arthur Edwards

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingConference proceedingAcademicpeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


Place branding has been used to influence ideas concerning communities and districts, especially in regeneration programmes. This article approaches branding as a new governance strategy for managing perceptions. Considering the popular criticism that branding is a form of spin that prevents the public from gaining a proper understanding of their government’s policies, this article focuses on the democratic legitimacy of branding in urban governance. The branding of two urban communities in the Netherlands is examined empirically in terms of input legitimacy, throughput legitimacy and output legitimacy. The research shows how the democratic legitimacy of branding varies in the two cases. In one case, branding largely excluded citizens, whereas in the other case there was limited citizen participation. The article indicates that, although branding can potentially be a participatory process in which the feelings and emotions of citizens are included, this potential is not always fully realised in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication-
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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