Considering nature-based solutions for place-branding : a spatial planning perspective
De Ridder, De Wet
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”Branding has invaded all aspects of public and private life” (Van Ham, 2002:249). Certain geographic locations devote significant efforts to enhance place marketing and place-branding strategies (Vuignier, 2016). Place-branding interconnects with pertinent factors related to humanity (Zenker & Braun, 2017; de Noronha et al., 2017) and is inevitably linked to the quality of life and to the well-being of humans (Cilliers et al., 2013:1). Efforts to differentiate places have evolved in recent years because the demand for resources has increased (Kaplan, 2010). Natural spaces and green environments have now become a marketable commodity (Cilliers & Cilliers, 2016) and place-branding approaches are increasingly turning towards nature as its unique selling point in cities. Nature-based solutions (NbS) are thus also gaining importance as natural resources and are increasingly being considered to address the complex urban problems faced by countries across the globe. From a spatial planning perspective, NbS align with the objectives of sustainability and resilience (Peter et al., 2017). The challenge, however, lies in linking places and place-branding with objectives of “Nature-based solutions” to enhance innovation opportunities” (Nesshöver et al., 2017:2). Various place-branding models and indexes exist within academic literature (Bothma, 2015), but little or no indexes indicate the relation between NbS and place-branding. This research departs from the understanding that NbS have the potential to contribute to place-branding and thus explored such from a spatial planning perspective. This research contributes to the debate on place-branding and the application of branding practices within spatial planning approaches, introducing NbS as a critical consideration. It considers a literature review on place-branding and NbS, along with purposefully selected branding indexes, to propose a framework for considering NbS for place-branding from a spatial planning perspective.