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From place branding to placemaking: the role of events

Greg Richards (NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, Breda, The Netherlands) (Department of Leisure Studies, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Event and Festival Management

ISSN: 1758-2954

Article publication date: 6 March 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine developments in the use of events by places from a predominantly place branding role based on image and economic impacts towards a broader placemaking approach aimed at holistic improvements in place quality.


The research is based on a single case study approach, with the Dutch city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) as the focus. Data sources include resident surveys, depth interviews and analysis of policy documents.


The Den Bosch case illustrates the emergence of a more holistic approach to the use of events as a placemaking tool. The city shifted from an ad hoc events policy to the development of a multi-annual programme designed to produce economic, image, social cultural and network effects. This approach seems to have been successful in stimulating visitation, increasing visitor spend and raising the international profile of the city. At the same time, the city has developed many activities designed to mobilise local stakeholder groups and increase social cohesion, which provide essential support for the necessary investment.

Research limitations/implications

There are indications that sustaining such a programme over the longer term is difficult in the face of political and economic change. Adoption of a holistic approach also requires the mobilisation of a wide range of stakeholders.

Practical implications

Critical success factors for placemaking are identified.

Social implications

The Den Bosch programme helped to increase social cohesion in the city by involving residents and local cultural groups in different projects. However, this required a differentiated approach based on the needs of each group.


This study presents a placemaking model that can help to identify the different elements required in a successful placemaking programme. This is developed from a practice approach, which has the value of paying attention to how event programmes can be initiated and sustained by a group of actors.



Richards, G. (2017), "From place branding to placemaking: the role of events", International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 8-23.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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