Re-imagining the city: branding migration-related diversity

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This paper aims to unravel how superdiverse cities re-imagine themselves in response to migration-related diversity. Based on a double case study on the branding strategies of two superdiverse Dutch cities, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, this paper shows that although diversity is part of the brand identity in both cities, it is not used prominently in brand communications or in urban planning. Place brands are constructed in wider discursive and political settings that affect whether and how migration-related diversity is used in the symbolic representation of places as well as in urban planning. Migration-related diversity is re-defined 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. City marketers have depoliticized place branding. Marketing logic pushed migration related-diversity to the background, because according to the city marketers diversity does not help a city to stand out.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1315-1332
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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