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Santa Fe: a "global enclave" in Mexico city

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Purpose ‐ In response to increased interurban competition in contemporary globalization, cities are employing marketing strategies to differentiate and identify themselves from each other. The creation and development of strategic places is nowadays guided by marketing strategies that brand places in order to promote them at an international scale. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the application of a global branding practice to a place in Mexico City. This has been used as an instrument of urban planning to achieve a new image; as a nodal point to articulate the country and the city to the global economy. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper is based on the results of anthropological research and consequently it is written from ethnographic accounts. It reflects the point of view of different groups such as government, planners, workers, and residents and describes how globalization discourse has been materialized and what kind of social practices emerge from it. Findings ‐ Although Santa Fe has been built to create the image of a global place articulated to the world economy, the paper demonstrates how the new urban model intensifies social contrasts and exacerbates social inequalities between elites and marginalized groups. The findings evaluate to what extent place branding, as a pragmatic activity, leaves aside complex social forces that are shaping the urban context. Originality/value ‐ The paper offers the opportunity to evaluate what constitutes a trend in urban planning in world cities with unequal socioeconomic structures; as well as providing a close overview that questions the consequences generated by the implementation of homogeneous urban planning patterns that seem to be applied to very different cities as a way of positioning places which are in global competition.
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Keywords: Brand image; Cities; Marketing strategy; Mexico; Urban areas

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-03-13

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