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Title: Staging urban change, reimaging the city : the politics of place marketing in the 'New Berlin' (1989-2004)
Author: Colomb, Claire Marie
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis explores the production of a discourse on urban change and of images of the city through place marketing practices in Berlin between 1989 and 2004. It investigates the interplay between symbolic reimaging practices, the conflictual politics of urban development and the spatial construction of memory and identity in post-Wall Berlin. Place marketing is conceptualised as a threefold phenomenon: a field of public policy with its network of actors, policy narrative and tools of action, a discourse on the city and a set of visual representations of the urban. The thesis combines a discursive political approach to public policies (inspired by Hajer's work) and a cultural geographical analysis of the visual content of the images produced through place marketing practices. Sources include proceedings of parliamentary debates, promotional materials produced by the city marketing company Partner fur Berlin, press articles and interviews. The thesis first documents the web of public and private actors involved in place marketing, tourism advertising and economic promotion in Berlin and identifies five key phases in the politics of place marketing between 1 989 and 2004. Through visual analysis it then shows how the marketing imagery has focused on specific sites and landmarks, each associated with a specific 'storyline' on the 'New Berlin': the Potsdamer Platz and its iconic corporate architecture as emblem of the aspiring global service metropolis, the Reichstag cupola as metaphor for the capital of the transparent Berliner Republik, and to a lesser extent, the 'Neue Mitte' and its reconstructed urban fabric as symbol of the 'classical' European metropolis and its virtues of urbanity, density, liveability and cosmopolitanism. After 2000 a fourth storyline, that of the 'Creative City', came to the forefront, characterised by the inclusion of new urban spaces into the place marketing imagery. Besides visual campaigns, the strategies of 'urban staging' and 'construction site tourism' designed by private investors, place marketing organisations and government departments through events such as 'Schaustelle Berlin' and 'Berlin: offene Stadt' are analysed as ambiguous sites of 'public pedagogy' of the 'New Berlin'. The thesis finally discusses how the social, cultural and economic implications of place marketing practices have been contested by opposition politicians, researchers, critical journalists and local citizens. Local actors have produced their own alternative marketing campaigns and images, whilst artists have mocked, parodied or subverted marketing images and techniques. The thesis concludes that place marketing has played a central, yet ambiguous role in the process of urban restructuring and place-making in post-Wall Berlin, by legitimizing political and urban planning choices, seeking to encourage public interest in planning and design issues, engineering social integration, masking the contradictions and failures of the local state and deflecting attention away from crucial political, economic and distributional issues underpinning the urban redevelopment of Berlin after 1989.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available