Eduardo Oliveira

Place branding in strategic spatial planning: New research

Eduardo Oliveira

Placesbrands is delighted to announce the publication of an important piece of doctoral research, which we’ve been eagerly following since this site’s inception in 2012.

Dr Eduardo Oliveira, Placesbrands deputy editor and resident expert, has just published his PhD thesis, exploring the role of place branding in strategic spatial planning.

Firstly, congratulations Eduardo! Here’s the brief on the thesis.

The research focuses on bringing together place branding and the strategic spatial planning approach, specifically at the regional scale. It critically scrutinises the actual or potential roles of place branding as an instrument for reaching strategic spatial planning goals. This discussion is currently gaining momentum at a time when the application of branding techniques and principles to places is firmly on the agendas of local and regional governments.

Place branding has also become an increasingly appealing topic for academic research. The theoretical assumption offered in this thesis is that place branding could and perhaps should be integrated into strategic spatial planning, independent of the geographical scale of application and whether the place branding initiatives are novel or a re-branding exercise. This thesis investigates the empirical significance of a regional branding strategy for northern Portugal, integrated into wider strategic spatial planning, and its ability to overcome the entrenched regional, economic and social difficulties and imbalances.

To achieve this aim, a qualitative methodology is used, specifically involving content analysis of strategic spatial plans, development plans, strategic initiatives, and online traveller-generated content. Sixteen regional stakeholders are also interviewed. By drawing the attention of readers – academics, practitioners, policy makers and spatial planners – to place branding as a strategic spatial planning instrument, this thesis contributes to the theoretical underpinnings of place branding, helping to make it more effective, efficient, and socially and environmentally responsible.

Read the entire thesis on open access at the University of Groningen.

Eduardo can be reached on Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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