Cities for Sale
Municipalities as Public Relations and Marketing Firms
SUNY Press 2013
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books Network September 1, 2014 Heath Brown
Staci Zavattaro is the author of the new book Cities for Sale: Municipalities as Public Relations and Marketing Firms (SUNY Press, 2013). Zavattaro is assistant professor of public administration at Mississippi State University.
Cities have received renewed interest from political scientists recently. Previously, Ravi K. Perry was on the podcast to discuss his book Black Mayors, White Majorities: The Balancing Act of Racial Politics (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). Zavattaro approaches the local subject from the perspective of public administration and an eye toward the marketing of cities. You’d be hard presses to live in a community that hasn’t launched a new publicity campaign or a new slogan to attract new residents. Zavattaro tries to analyze these efforts and suggests that cities use six selling tactics to advance their interests: branding, media relations, in-house publications, use of volunteers and outside organizations as PR surrogates, aesthetic and affective appeal, and built environment via sustainability. Zavattaro acknowledges the limits of this metaphor and, in her conclusion, addresses the risks associated with a model of urban governance focused on marketing rather than other social values.