Exploring City Identity and Public Perception

Future Cities Africa and the The Greater Tygerberg Partnership present 'Exploring City Identity and Public Perception'.

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Presented by The Greater Tygerberg Partnership

This webinar explored

  • Urban placemaking as a tool for shaping city identity
  • Global view of city identity
  • Practical applications to improve public perceptions
  • better. bellville. together Campaign
  • Digital placemaking
  • Overlapping stories
  • Owning the narrative
  • Entry points and scale
  • and much more

Speakers

  • Warren Hewitt, CEO, The Greater Tygerberg Partnership
  • Peter Griffiths, Global Urban Futurist, BABLE Smart Cities
  • Tanya Busschau, Senior Associate, DHK Architects
  • Alexandra Jongens, Consultant in Urban Development and Social Innovation

Webinar summary

Warren Hewitt, CEO of The Greater Tygerberg Partnership starts by discussing the importance of place branding and its impact on a city's identity, public perception, economic growth, and everything that happens within it. The webinar features presentations and a panel discussion including Peter Griffiths, Global Urban Futurist, BABLE Smart Cities; Tanya Busschau, Senior Associate, DHK Architects; and Alexandra Jongens, Consultant in Urban Development and Social Innovation. They discuss various ways in which cities can evoke different emotions for people around the world and how some cities intentionally brand themselves to create emotional attachments. The panel also explores different strategies for creating a city's identity, including digital place-making, the role of mixed-use developments, and the importance of public spaces and public realm. The webinar also touches on various challenges faced by cities, including the advent of smart technology and the need to focus on social issues, such as health, safety, inclusion, and social value. The speakers also discuss emerging themes in Europe related to digitization, energy transition, smart mobility, and decentralization, and the importance of collaborative and co-creative strategies for promoting innovation and meaningful interaction with space. Other topics covered include the challenges of understanding a city's identity as an outsider, the role of infrastructure in branding, and the informalization of space resulting from the addition of new technologies. Overall, the webinar offers valuable insights into the importance of branding in shaping a city's identity and public perception and emphasizes the need for a balance between commercial development and public use in creating vibrant, engaging destinations through thoughtful planning and design.

The panel further discusses the impact of gardens and public art in Bellville, South Africa. The speaker mentions that despite initial fears of plants being stolen, over 2,000 plants have been introduced and maintained, leading to a cleaner and more vibrant area. Public art has also transformed urban spaces by creating playful, colorful, and diverse murals that highlight the people and culture of Bellville. The better. bellville. together campaign's success is attributed to partnerships with business owners, property owners, and city officials. The discussants also emphasize the importance of collaboration with local communities in maintaining parks and gardens and using technical tools such as social listening tools to measure sentiments about a place. The identity and public perception of cities are explored, with the emphasis on community contribution and participation in placemaking rather than measuring sentiment through language. Examples of Essen in Germany and Perth in Scotland are provided, highlighting the importance of having a unique and distinct identity. The emotional connection that a name can establish with its inhabitants and visitors is discussed, along with the need for authentic experiences and unique attractions. The consensus seems to be that while there are inherent aspects of a city that create its identity, cities can still have overlapping identities with others, and their identity does not need to be fixed or unique.

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