A network-based approach to model the development of city branding in China

Qihui Yang*, Haiyan Lu, Caterina Scoglio, Martin de Jong, Don Gruenbacher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Against the background of globalization, city branding has become a useful strategy utilized by decision-makers in cities to promote their cities in the race for limited resources. Urban transformation factors, i.e., economic development stage and geographic position play an important role in city branding choices. We argue that city branding choices of a city can be affected by other cities through city interactions and networking. The effects of city interactions can spread across cities either through spatial proximity-referring physical or geographic connections, or logical proximity-representing city interconnectivity caused by collaboration activities. To test our argument, we develop a two-layer network model using the generalized modeling framework (GEMF) to model city branding choices, based on empirical data of sustainable brand developmental pathways from the three economic regions in China. We examine the general evolution pattern of city branding practices and construct different scenarios to analyze the impact of city interactions. The results indicate that taking city interactions as an additional factor to urban transformation allows for a better prediction on city branding choices. Policy-makers and urban planners need to consider infrastructure and economic development policies in designing city branding strategies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalComputers, Environment and Urban Systems
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • City branding choice
  • City interaction
  • Developmental pathway
  • GEMF
  • Network model


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