An international brand resource for neighbourhoods, towns, cities, regions and economic clusters.
Cities that invest heavily in cycling and transit infrastructure, for example, instead of building new and wider roads for cars, win great favour with me. I want to go to a place that is actively working to be part of the climate change solution, like Melbourne Australia. Melbourne's Bike Share program puts 600 bikes in convenient locations around the city, making it easy and affordable to shift behaviour away from automobile dependency. How cool is that?
Communities that come up with truly creative, made-at-home responses to hard times also get my vote, because this kind of activity signals the presence of passion and engagement. Take Victoria, British Columbia's new citizen-fueled microlending organization. Inspired by a model from the 1930s – where locals pooled their money to help solve the problems associated with high rates of poverty, unemployment, and business failure – the Community Micro Lending Society makes small loans to aspiring small-scale local entrepreneurs who don't qualify for credit from mainstream financial institutions.
These days, another way that communities are expressing clear, modern principles is by banning bottled water sales (e.g. Bundanoon, Australia; Concord, Massachusetts). In comparison to solving issues of poverty and climate change, restricting this seemingly benign product may seem off base. And yet nothing could be further from the truth. In addition to the fact that plastic bottles are made from a scarce resource (oil), contain a scarce resource (water), and fill up landfills, the extraction and transportation of massive amounts of bottled water across the globe is entirely unsustainable.
These examples perfectly illustrate the theory of placebranding. Places that are not afraid to stand for something truly stand out. Communities that are willing to boldly face the future by making these kinds of hard decisions hold water for me!