How successful have urban areas been in rebranding themselves?
I studied London Docklands as a case study for urban rebranding.
How has the Docklands rebranded itself?
- The Olympics 2012 has given Eastern London a stimulus of sport for rebranding. Being such a major event it has been organised in an efficient fashion and many developments have come into the area.
- Flagship developments have been developing. This includes the Olympic village which has affordable housing in it and many forms of sports stadiums and studios.
- Industrial Heritage is also an important aspect. In the 1980s, St Katherine’s Dock in Tower Hamlets, went through the process of rebranding. We saw evidence of industrial heritage there for example, sculptures of elephant, names of buildings e.g. ‘Ivory house’ and even old window designs were kept in some buildings.
- Being a sports event many opportunities have come about in the way of sports. For example sports training facilities and many stadiums will be used as leisure spaces after the event.
- St Katherine’s Dock which was rebranded in 1980s, has emphasis in allowing people to walk along the River Thames and the docks. Water is keep aspect in the regeneration of St Katherine’s Dock.
- The Olympics 2012 has taken on the challenge to be the greenest games ever. This means that developments are not just taking place on greenfield site, but brownfield sites too. Soil in these sites contains cyanide and mercury and rather than replacing the soil, it is been decided to be cleaned and put back on o the land. It is more costly but it more sustainable.
How can we measure the success?
- Photographs – they give us a feel for the place and comparing it to the photos from the past we can make judgements whether the change has been successful or not.
- Maps – again the give us accurate description of the physical landscape of what a place used to be and comparing it to a map from today we can see the change. We can also monitored how has the access of the city changed. Using figures we can say whether the access has been a success or not in drawing in visitors.
- Census is a database which contains a range of information from the employment status to the average number of people living per room. The last one took place in 2001 so when the next one happens in 2011 we can see whether figures such as employment status has improved or not.
- ‘Www.upmystreet.com’ is similar to the census but this gives us profiles of a place as well as photographs and statistics. Looking at how a place is doing on this website we can decide if they are doing well or not.
- Blogs and forums are also good places to see what peoples opinions are of places and looking at different time intervals might show us whether people are getting a more positive image after rebranding.