Branding Sustainability

Las Vegas' Union Park is a LEED-certified development that sits on a revitalized brownfield, but with no shortage of Vegas' glitz. Can smart growth be as marketable as it is environmentally good?
October 14, 2008, 2pm PDT | Judy Chang
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"It seems an odd tension of aesthetic sensibilities. On the one hand the project is every bit the Las Vegas of the collective imagination - a glittering, glamorous spectacular 'brandscape.' It's a downtown revitalization project of unprecedented ambition that seeks to build, from the ground up, a completely new downtown. On the other hand, the city and the project's developers are everywhere making sure to advertise that the Park as 'green,' sustainable, New Urbanist. To my mind these latter modes think of themselves as wholly unconcerned with the former's flashiness, inherently."

"All in all, the project is a fascinating experiment that might help us answer some big questions. Is it a good thing that 'smart growth' can so easily bleed into the realm of being a luxury brand? Is Union Park a perfect model for the way we can create moral markets and promote investment in better cities? Or is the project going to be a perfect parable for the tangled legacy of Neoliberal ethical, aesthetics, and economic ideals?"

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Published on Tuesday, October 14, 2008 in Next American City
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