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Title: An assessment of city marketing strategies and urban entrepreneurialism in UK Local Authorities
Author: Millington, Steven David
ISNI:       0000 0001 3408 2831
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2002
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City marketing has emerged since the late 1980s as an important policy for practitioners involved in place management and development, including both local government and nongovernmental organisations. This development marks a substantial shift in the practice of local economic development (LED), but it also has wider implications in terms of how cities and regions are more broadly managed by institutions of local governance. The term city marketing, for instance, immediately brings up connotations of organisations being entrepreneurial, business-like and market driven. Indeed, Harvey (1989) links the growth of entrepreneurial and competitive approaches within the local state to a wider transition of capitalism characterised by the shift from Fordism to a regime of flexible accumulation. Although city marketing is not necessarily a new activity (Ward, 1995), the context of rapid globalisation and fierce international competition for mobile investment does mark out this contemporary period of restructuring of the local state for special attention by geographers. With the success of image campaigns in big cities, such as Glasgow (e.g. Boyle, 1995; Paddison, 1993), many academics argue that the use of city marketing and promotion has quickly disseminated throughout the local state to address a range of LED issues (Ashworth and Voogd, 1990; Kearns and Philo, 1993; Kotler et. al, 1993; Smyth, 1994). Attracting investment in commercial property development, urban tourism, leisure, shopping, housing and culture industries, have all become objectives of city marketing in addition to the enticement of mobile manufacturing capital into urban environments (Lovering, 1993). The projection of the "right" image can improve the city's marketability within the global economy. Marketing can also fulfil other functions, apart from image management, to support the rejuvenation of cities. Marketing can maintain business confidence and help create the conditions for continued investment in the built environment. Marketing can raise awareness of place and in doing so it can stimulate consumer, shopper, and tourist expectations. Creating the "right" image involves increasingly sophisticated marketing strategies, advertising campaigns, market research and "product development" (Bianchini et. al, 1992; Smyth, 1994). A tour of British cities today will reveal a vast number of construction sites and completed projects that are part of a new urban landscape. Where once stood cotton-mills, factories and warehouses, now stands festival shopping arcades, event arenas, conference and exhibition centres, sports facilities, concert halls, and cultural quarters. Even the polluted 19th century industrial canals are now termed "waterfront" sites, to be packaged and sold to developers. As such approaches have become dominant in LED it is argued that the local state is abandoning its commitment to indigenous social welfare needs in favour of competitive growth strategies often termed the new urban entrepreneurialism (e.g. Harvey, 1989). Consequently the growth of city marketing is taken to be indicative of local restructuring processes, which are said to have transformed the local state from managerialism to entrepreneurialism. Unfortunately the geographical research on city marketing has a rather unclear understanding of marketing within the context of LED. First, city marketing remains a somewhat broadly defined term, which is used rather loosely within the literature to describe a range of activities, from very basic advertising and promotion to substantial long-term strategies for urban renewal (Millington et. al, 1997b). Given that it is such a poorly understood term, can it be assumed, therefore, that city marketing is necessarily indicative of the wider restructuring of the local state? This critical point leads to a second key question, which is the extent to which the pursuit of city marketing can be seen as exclusively an entrepreneurial growth strategy. From a limited number of case studies of big cities geographers have made some quite considerable claims about the nature of city marketing which have led them to surmise that the growth of the entrepreneurial state is an all encompassing process which is an essential element of wider structural change. This argument is weak for two main reasons. First, supporters of the entrepreneurial thesis have blatantly ignored diverse policy outcomes from within the local state during this current phase of restructuring. Certainly global processes have had a fundamental impact on many localities, but LED strategies may have developed under variable national and local conditions to produce multiple forms of city marketing and urban entrepreneurialism. Second, that many assumptions about city marketing and the local state are based on a deep misunderstanding of marketing concepts and practice. Often there is conflation of urban entrepreneurialism and marketing, and marketing and promotion with little discussion in the literature on how these concepts need to be conceptualised as clear analytical categories. Drawing on empirical research gathered from a national survey of local authorities and casestudy interviews, this thesis challenges assumptions about city marketing as a tool of LED in the UK. On a broader note this thesis also questions the relationship between global, national and local restructuring and the role city marketing plays in this process. This leaves fundamental questions unanswered regarding the extent that contemporary approaches to LED are necessarily entrepreneurial and whether local government can really think and act like a business. The main aims of this thesis, therefore, are: to identify the extent and depth of city marketing practice in the UK; to show how policy makers make sense of and apply marketing concepts at the local level; and to evaluate the extent to which there has been a transformation to a new entrepreneurial culture within the local state (by using city marketing as an indicator of urban entrepreneurialism and implicitly to evaluate the extent city marketing indicates entrepreneurialism).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available