Cities, consumption, and brands
This chapter considers the rise of brands in the city, focusing on the question of how they have come to play a central role in the urban environment. It traces interconnected developments in consumption, spaces of consumption, and commercial cultures in modern, industrial cities, the mass suburbs, and through to postindustrial urban configurations. While brands have a long history and visible presence in the city, the chapter explains how the rise of brands and branding and their spatialization in the city is tied to the growth and expansion of consumer culture and related cultural industries, notably developments in design, marketing, branding, and advertising. The growing prominence of brands in the urban landscape is moreover linked to the emergence of postindustrial cities and a new emphasis on nurturing cities’ symbolic, or rather, cultural economies. In this context, brands have been widely integrated into culture- and consumption-led strategies of urban redevelopment, the creation of new spaces for consumption, as well as city marketing and (re)imaging efforts. Overall, the chapter indicates that brands are now elemental aspects of contemporary city form, cultures, and urban life.