Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Globalization, Place Branding and Economic Cities

Last week, one of our PhD students gave a presentation on his project. The student was Turki Shoaib and the presentation was Globalization and Urban Development in Saudi Arabia: A framework for the study of place branding in Economic Cities.

Image courtesy of jazan-economic-city.com

I asked Turk for a summary of his research and here's what he told me:

In the age of Globalization, the growing interdependence of countries is changing the global dynamics of economic integration and inter-connectivity. Cities and urban regions are becoming the new sites for global service production and increasingly play an important role in economic and competitive advancement. Understanding the way these urban centers physically develop and connect will lead to a clearer understanding of the impact of globalization on urban form. In this context, Saudi Arabia has emerged as a unique case of urban development. Coupled with its impressive growth and economic reforms, Saudi has recently been making changes to its foreign investment structure with the goal of being more competitive on the global stage. Saudi Arabia’s strategy to address its local challenges and embrace globalization has focused on developing new economic cities, a recent trend in urban development. Understanding the dynamics of how developers and public partners use place branding to create competitive identity for these cities before they are built will help future planners and developers understand the challenges of creating new large-scale urban projects that better reflect the realities of globalization.

For more information on the development of economic cities, take a look at this recent OECD report and at this report from the Metropolitan Corporate Council. To find out about place branding, take a look at Wikipedia which has one of the best definitions I could find. If you would like to see Turk's presentation, it's accessible on Prezi.

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