Explaining city branding practices in China’s three mega-city regions: The role of ecological modernization

De Jong, M., Chen, Y., Joss, S., Lu, H., Zhao, M., Yang, Q. and Zhang, C. 2018. Explaining city branding practices in China’s three mega-city regions: The role of ecological modernization. Journal of Cleaner Production. 179, pp. 527-543. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.01.098

TitleExplaining city branding practices in China’s three mega-city regions: The role of ecological modernization
AuthorsDe Jong, M., Chen, Y., Joss, S., Lu, H., Zhao, M., Yang, Q. and Zhang, C.
Abstract

As global cities, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing operate in international economic networks; however, they are also each firmly embedded within a regional context and are surrounded by less populous and less internationally recognized neighbors. Together they form so-called mega-city regions referred to as the Greater Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta, and the Bohai Rim, each encompassing a dozen or so cities. In the wake of staggering economic growth and threatening pollution, these cities are compelled to respond to the challenge of ecological modernization (EM): aim for higher economic value added at lower environmental cost. Cities have particular industrial and regional profiles; consequently they follow different developmental pathways. In order to attract coveted investors, green and high-tech corporations, well-endowed residents and talented workforce, these cities engage in city branding practices. In this contribution, a typology of EM developmental pathways is presented and the 41 cities in the three Chinese mega-city regions are analyzed in terms of their respective pathways and city branding practices. We argue that different industrial and regional profiles allow for different developmental pathways making different city branding strategies likely. Most cities brand themselves in comformity with what their pathway would lead us to predict, except cities with a strongly manufacturing oriented profile; the brands of the latter type deviate markedly from their current reality. Cities adopting branding strategies that contrast sharply with their historical legacy and current profile risk promoting themselves in ways that the outside world is likely to perceive as lacking in credibility.

Keywordscity brand identity; city labels; ecological modernization; developmental pathways; mega-city regions, China
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Journal citation179, pp. 527-543
ISSN0959-6526
Year2018
PublisherElsevier
Accepted author manuscriptde Jong Chen Joss Lu Zhao Yang Zhang MANUSCRIPT JCLP (ACCEPTED 12 JAN 2018).pdf
Supplementary data or filesde Jong Chen Joss Lu Zhao Yang Zhang TABLES 1-4 JCLP (FINAL 31 AUG 2017)-1.docx
de Jong Chen Joss Lu Zhao Yang Zhang FIGURE 2 JCLP (FINAL 31 AUG 2017).docx
de Jong Chen Joss Lu Zhao Yang Zhang FIGURE 1 JCLP (FINAL 31 AUG 2017).docx
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.01.098
Web address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652618301124
Publication dates
Published28 Jan 2018
Published in printApr 2018
LicenseCC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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