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Cities for Sale

Municipalities as Public Relations and Marketing Firms

Staci M. Zavattaro

Publication Year: 2013

Examines how US cities have adopted the tactics of public relations and marketing firms to “brand” themselves.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-9

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pp. ix-xii

Take a moment to click over to the city of Ankeny, Iowa’s, Web site (www. ankenyiowa.gov). Then try the city of Reno, Nevada (www.reno.gov). Next, visit the cities of Anaheim, California (www.anaheim.net), then Coral Springs, Florida (www.coralsprings.org). Similarities certainly emerge—bright (and like) colors, logos...

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pp. xiii-xiv

I take a moment here to thank those who helped me with this project along the way. First, my parents, Nancy and Richard, supported me with love and encouragement—despite telling me repeatedly, “We don’t really know what you’re writing, but we’re proud of you!” (Love you both!) Next, Art...

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Chapter One: Selling a City

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pp. 1-8

I grew up in the city of Coral Springs, Florida. If the name sounds familiar, it is because the city often is showcased in books and academic journal articles for its commitment to a corporate model of performance excellence. The business-based model earned the city two Florida Governor’s Sterling...

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Chapter Two: Metaphors in Public Administration

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pp. 9-19

Outlined briefly above is the metaphor of cities as public relations and marketing firms. The first building block to put down, then, is an explanation of why metaphors are utilized within public administration. Metaphor assists in our understanding of phenomena on many levels. Calling an organization a...

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Chapter Three: Government, Governance, and the Market

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pp. 21-29

These days we are bombarded by reports of wasteful bureaucrats who suck the public coffers dry with high pensions and low quality of service. One only has to think about protests in the state of Wisconsin or the implementation of emergency managers in Michigan (both in 2011) to get a taste of this...

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Chapter Four: Communication, Marketing, and Public Relations

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pp. 31-47

So far, building blocks are stacking up to give further shape to the municipalities as PR and marketing firms metaphor. First, metaphors were detailed, then market models of government. Now I turn to organizational communication, because it is naturally at the core of the metaphor. Efforts to bring market-based, or quasi-market-based, models...

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Chapter Five: Cities as PR and Marketing Firms: The Framework

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pp. 49-77

To this point, I have used various literature streams to show the background behind cities transforming themselves to act as private-sector PR and marketing firms. First, I outlined the role of metaphor in public administration, before briefly detailing the impact of market models on the field. Next, I explained the meaning of PR, marketing, branding...

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Chapter Six: Implications for Citizen Participation and Democratic Governance

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pp. 79-98

In my explanation of the cities as PR and marketing firms metaphor, I have devised a parallel between the practices employed by municipalities to present information to the public and those used by private sector firms engaged in the same promotional enterprise. The parallel is made possible by an ongoing increase in the importation, eager adoption, and embrace of...

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Chapter Seven: Patterns, Limitations, and Future Research

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pp. 99-114

The book began with the premise that cities, especially in the United States, are beginning to not only adopt the practices of private sector public relations and marketing firms but mirror those firms in terms of behavior, values, and reach. Organizational communication, one area left critically unexamined in the consideration...


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pp. 115-134


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pp. 135-138

E-ISBN-13: 9781438446837
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438446813

Page Count: 152
Publication Year: 2013