Reconsidering place branding: ‘connecting the dots’ between placemaking, policy making and sustainable development

This 2021 report written by Laura Reynolds focuses on the topic of place branding. Specifically, it argues for greater citizen participation in place branding practice, and that such processes should be better integrated into the wider place agenda, to bring about more sustainable development in Wales and elsewhere.

Date added 6 December 2021
Last updated 6 December 2021

This article explores the potential role of place branding as a facilitator for sustainable development. In order to achieve these outcomes, the article suggests that place branding must first be treated as a process that includes local stakeholders in the development and presentation of the places in which they work, visit and invest in. Second, it is proposed that place branding needs to be better integrated into the wider place agenda, considering the crossovers between place branding, placemaking and policy making.

Using the case of Wales, it is argued that the principles contained in the Well-being of the Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (FGA) may help to guide the practice and policy making that is needed to bridge these gaps across the place agenda. Wales was the first country to legislate for the protection of the future generations' wellbeing, providing legal and policy groundings for the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. The seven wellbeing aims contained in the FGA focus on providing the economic, social, environmental, and cultural conditions needed to protect both the current and future generations in Wales.

Themes from the five-year review contained in Future Generations Report (2020) were examined, highlighting the overarching role of engagement and partnership working, as well as the link between the global and local sustainability encouraged throughout the Act and its implementation. A place brand identity was created that was capable of supporting sustainable development. As such, it is suggested that policy making can help to bring together placemaking and place branding, and when all three components are pursued collectively and in unison they can bring about substantive economic, social, cultural, and environmental benefits.