City Competitiveness and Branding : Identities and strategies in two Swedish municipalities

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Kulturgeografiska institutionen

Abstract: As the world-economy becomes increasingly competitive, places adopt different methods to elevate their attractiveness. The paper examines how two medium-sized Swedish cities, Uppsala and Västerås, develop their own competitiveness, identities, and images in relation to the principles and concepts laid out by Simon Anholt in his book Competitive identity: The New Brand Management for Nations, Cities and Regions (2007). A qualitative approach to textual analysis is employed to gather the necessary research material to draw conclusions from, in addition to taking a theory-consuming perspective in order to limit the study’s generalization. The study adds to the field of city branding by analyzing real-life places using a conceptual framework, providing insight into the practical application of a theoretical model. The results show that Uppsala is trying to elevate itself to the international stage, while Västerås is remaking its identity almost completely. Uppsala must remember the city’s prerequisites and should look to Västerås for expertise regarding the railway sector. It is imperative that Västerås improves its innovative environments, while looking to Uppsala for knowledge of how to integrate innovative cultures in all sectors of society. Both cities are heavily dependent on their proximity to Stockholm, with Uppsala beginning to question their position.

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