Urban Rebranding

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?

  1. 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.
  2. Flagship developments have been developing. This includes the Olympic village which has affordable housing in it and many forms of sports stadiums and studios.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Flagship Developments

How have flagship developments aided the rebranding process?

Flagship development – It is an attempt and strategy on the part of the Labour government to regenerate and redevelop urban environments.

Case Study 1 – London Docklands

Olympics venue

This is attracting sports fans and athletes by attracting this young and fit workforce it hope to increase economic success. The venue itself is proving jobs even for those who don’t have the specialised training for many other jobs.

New Aquarium

The aquarium presents an attraction for families who wish to go on a local holiday. It also has attracted specialised such as scientists interested in examining different types of fish. By bringing these specialised people, it makes the population of London more efficient. 

New Water Park

This flagship development aims to crete destination tourism. Hoping that once people are in the area they spent money on other things to, boosting the whole area.

Case Study 2 – Manchester 

Trafford centre 

It is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK. It has aided the rebranding process because private investors have invested in the land hoping to receive large revenues, this means that they have seen the potential economic success of an area and made it into reality.

Beetham tower

This mega-construction hold five star Hilton hotel within it. The nature of the hotel attracts the wealthier and sophisticated part of the population. This makes the option to go on holiday to Manchester more attractive then lets say Liverpool.


Selfridges is now opened in the heart of Manchester again attracting this rich and sophisticated population. The aim is that these people have enough money hence they will spent it on other goods and services in Manchester creating economic success which should in turn increase the quality of life for the locals.

Case Study 3 – Cornwall

Eden Project

This is most visited place in Cornwall. It brings millions of visitors all throughout the year. It helped Cornwall combat the problem with seasonal tourism (which is one of the reasons why Cornwall became derelict in the first place). Creating a green and eco-friendly image is also a sustainable image.

Lobb’s farm shop

After the Eden Project this is the second most visited location. With EU match funding farmers such as Lobb have been given a chance to diversify their income. This has helped combat the problem of occupational labour mobility because it allows people to do what they are good at.

Extreme Sports Academy at Watergate Bay

This is an attraction aimed at youngsters to come to Cornwall as tourists and potential works. the Academy recruit many young people and helps change Cornwall’s image from a place for senior citizens to a young and trendy area. It is one initiative taken to try and tackle the ‘brain drain’ of the area.