Risks in City Marketing

<em>Grist</em>'s Sarah Goodyear takes a look at a Superbowl TV commercial's focus on Detroit, and how selling a city can either work or fail.
February 12, 2011, 9am PST | Nate Berg
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Reviewing the response from a variety of commentators and news outlets, Grist examines ways that marketing efforts can bring unintended consequences to cities.

"[W]hen governments and the private sector scramble to market urban areas, both can trample on the cities they are touting -- in effect killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

You can see it in Manhattan, which has been relentlessly promoted as a product for years by government and by privately owned media, from Seinfeld to Sex and the City to Gossip Girl. Sadly, what we have in Manhattan today is a Disneyfied city core that has lost much of its local flavor, as small retailers, artists, and working-class people are forced out by rents that only multinational corporations and the super-rich can afford.

You can also see the pattern in Istanbul, which recently finished up a year as the official "European capital of culture," spending $3 billion and welcoming 8 million tourists."

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Published on Thursday, February 10, 2011 in Grist
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