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Branding the design metropole: the case of Montréal, Canada

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As part of a broader process of inter-urban competition, city governments have increasingly sought to ‘position’ themselves as centres of creativity. In these branding initiatives, culture is viewed as a tool of urban regeneration and economic development. Our paper examines the case of Commerce Design Montréal, an annual design competition run by the City of Montréal, which aims to brand Montréal as a centre of design. Commerce Design Montréal is an example of a ‘fast’ policy initiated by the state, but carried out by business owners and citizens. As such, it represents a downloading of the responsibility for economic development to the private or individual scale and adopts only a partial view of the varied actors and uses that are implicated in the design process. The paper considers the opportunities and challenges that this model presents for promoting design as a form of urban regeneration in a neo-liberal context.

Keywords: Montréal; design; place marketing; qualitative methods; urban regeneration

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec H3G 1M8, Canada, Email: 2: Department of Geography and Program in Planning, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G3, Canada

Publication date: December 1, 2006


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