How to capture the idea of a place? The case of five Moscow districts

Kirill Lvovich Rozhkov, Natalya Il’inichna Skriabina
  • Journal of Place Management and Development, October 2015, Emerald
  • DOI: 10.1108/jpmd-06-2015-0021

How to capture the idea of a place?

What is it about?

In the geographic sense, a place is a space; in the social sense, it is a community; in marketing sense a place is a product that gives residents the opportunity to live a certain lifestyle, or to use the space and time in a certain way. In this paper, we show how, walking around any city and looking at its physical environment and everyday activities of its residents and , one can deduce a "formula" of the key place place idea.

Why is it important?

Because any place is used regardless of whether it is marketed or branded. And if the marketer would like the local community to support the place marketing or branding, he needs to be sure that the residents are ready to change their lives. That's why whatever words and visual images the marketer uses should be translatable into terms of residents’ lifestyles "before" and "after" marketing.


Professor Kirill Lvovich Rozhkov
National Research University Higher School of Economics

Place identity underlying the unique value proposition of a place is determined not only by its geography, history, cultural heritage, but also by the everyday life of its residents. They “write” a unique story about their place every day with their own words and actions . And the question is, how can we recognize the main idea of this story? How do we condense this complex mass of data into a specific, comparable and manageable generalized formula of place product? The existing methods of place product analysis and development are either intuitive and, thus, difficult to reproduce, or reproducible, but sacrificing the specificity and uniqueness of the marketed place. We introduce interconnected morphological classification tables as a tool for describing the more general (and thus comparable) features of a place, on the one hand, with minimal loss of the specificity that shapes the place identity, on the other. The place product concepts of five Moscow districts obtained using these tables are not unique, because they have combined typical elements of the morphological tables. However, they do not repeat one another and embody the distinctive features of the districts being studied. The closest metaphor is provided by LEGO blocks, whose standard elements can form unrepeatable combinations.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Kirill Lvovich Rozhkov