University of Oregon research project
“Business fabric and Place, a Methodology to Measure Business Identity in Barcelona’s New Superilles”
Speranza, P. and Prager, B (2016), “Business fabric and Place, a Methodology to Measure Business Identity in Barcelona’s New Superilles” Strategic Place Branding Methodologies and Theory for Tourist Attraction, Co-Edited by Can Usley and Ahmet Bayraktar, Pennsylvania: IGI Global. pg. 157-180.
http://www.igi-global.com/book/strategic-place-branding-methodologies-theory/147129 ISBN13: 9781522505792,
A walk down La Rambla street in Barcelona, Spain provides an urban experience of tourism-oriented business activity. The 1.2 kilometer street of shops, kiosks and street peddlers elicits disapproval from local citizens but is, along with other Gaudi’s architectural sites, an established city branding campaign for tourists to stay, shop, eat, and stroll. The walk down the brand driven La Rambla with increasing international companies McDonald’s, Zara and Banco Santander differs from a walk through the Gràcia neighborhood with more local entrepreneurial city branding (Pike, 2009) (Freire, 2009). Gràcia’s touristic draw, though smaller in scale than La Rambla, invites a high volume of tourists. Both La Rambla and Gràcia are examples of city branding but with two different understandings of business fabric, or woven urban texture, between larger-scale, international and planned from a bird’s eye view, and the other smaller, more entrepreneurial and spatially intimate scale shaped by individuals at the human street level. Do the qualities of small new startup businesses of entrepreneurship and architecture relate? This chapter investigates how city branding may be understood through small, street-scale geospatial relationships of 1) business, 2) architecture, and 3) entrepreneurial qualities, providing a geographic information system, GIS, tool that investigates latent branding opportunities to improve the understanding of a city or destination from the bottom up. This bottom-up approach furthers the notion that a more successful place branding campaign may emerge from top-down policy initiatives if a rigorous strategy celebrates the pre-existing strengths of a place.
This chapter will explain the method and assertions to measure the impact of business fabric and the possible role in current and subsequent neighborhood and city branding using neighborhood case studies in Barcelona, Spain, Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and Jersey City, New Jersey. City-scaled branding does not always acknowledge the small-scale geospatial qualities that support distinctive identities from the street scale to the city scale. For example, in DUMBO Brooklyn, Down Under the Manhattan Brooklyn Overpass, the high price of established downtown Manhattan office space pushed entrepreneurs elsewhere to the post-industrial urban fabric in Brooklyn. Similar emerging business districts rely on relationships of small-scale urban and architectural fabric. The research builds on assertions that geography and branding are entangled by 1) inescapable socio-spatial associations; 2) inherent differentiation through space and 3) articulation of economic and competitive socio-spatial relationships (Pike, 2009). While recent research explores relationships between urban development and urban branding (Rehan, 2013) existing research does not focus on the small-scale urban qualities as small as individual streets or three-by-three block areas. Owners in these locations not only aspire to have a successful small business for themselves but to collaborate with the most skilled and talented young workers who seek attractable (Bitner, 1990), walkable street level activities, affordable places to live and eat, and access to natural amenities (Lindzon, 2015). These small businesses can move from space to space within a building or neighborhood without losing customers, but neighborhood location is still important for small, creative class businesses (Florida, 2008). According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the long-term phenomenon of entrepreneurship relies on communities and policy makers to work together to attract vitality to a region (Clifford, 2013). This long-term trend subsequently has deep influence on the business fabric of a place and, in turn, attracting investment (Kotler et al. 1993) to perpetuate a long-term city brand.