This research was conducted by Waldemar Cudny, Roberta Comunian and Anita Wolaniuk at the Jan Kochanowski University, Poland and two other institutions


Place branding is increasingly common, and this paper examines how the post-industrial city of Łódź in Poland has devised a branding strategy to combine its complex heritage with a burgeoning creative industries sector. The wealth of Łódź (population: 700,000) was largely derived from the textile trade in the 19th century, and that tradition continued up to the end of the communist era in 1989. Łódź has since chosen to ‘re-invent their image but still ground it in its cultural heritage, presenting its arts and creativity as a strength across the political and historical developments that affected the city. In this respect arts and creativity have been used to create an element of continuity through the political disruption as sectors like film – with a strong support and presence in the socialist era – could be invested in to create new job and capital investment now in relation to the new creative economy’.

The research was based on a review of strategy documents and municipal data, interviews with key stakeholders, and observation of key events in the city

It looked at six areas: marketing and branding, public relations, corporate social responsibility, human resources, research and innovation and production. Taken together they revealed that the approach in Łódź was not just about branding and image (as is so often the case), but about making creativity part of the operation of the city and determining the activity supported therein.

The term neoliberal is complex and contested

In this paper it is used to convey the fact that the place branding approach often finds municipalities behaving like corporations: looking to differentiate themselves in a competitive marketplace and to optimise the efficient use of resources.

Title Arts and Creativity: A business and branding strategy for Lodz as a neoliberal city
Author(s) Cudny, W., Comunian, R. & Wolaniuk, A.
Publication date 2020
Source Cities, Vol. 100, 102659
Author email