Atlantic Arc Cities

ATBRAND is a European project co-financed by the ERDF Funds through the INTERREG Atlantic Area IVB programme, born to promote transnational cooperation between the Atlantic regions. Lasted from the 01.01.2014 to the 30.06.2015, it was led by Dublin City Council in collaboration with Liverpool, Cardiff, La Rochelle, San Sebastián, Faro and the Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities.

Under the objective of the European territorial cooperation, the cohesion policy encourages the regions and cities of the EU Member States to work together through programs, projects and networks. Defined by the INTERREG programme, the Atlantic Area is a territory made up of 27 regions from UK, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal that share a strong identity, history, heritage as well as the common maritime environment. Within this frame, the city brand concept was developed following the phenomenon of globalization and increased competitiveness among cities around the world: the vision of the city brand promoted through the INTERREG IVB Atlantic Area programme is indeed a global vision that aims to “promote the city as a place of commerce, cooperation and projects”. During the project, the cities involved had to communicate globally about their brand, and they did include local actors to develop a coherent long-term strategy. The ultimate objective defined for ATBRAND was to create more influential and attractive cities and regions through the creation of networks. The actions carried out under the project were mainly addressed to: a mutual process of learning and training in terms of innovative management of the city brand, the implementation of reference actions at the local level and transferable to other cities, the development of an additional on-line toolbox for the “Atlantic brand” and finally to the definition of a proposed action plan to implement common communication and promotion actions around that brand.

The main goal of branding is to identify what makes a city special and different whereas the specific challenge in co-branding is to assess if there is value in identifying what links cities together. This means a huge difference with individual branding and involves a different approach. But such an attempt made sense coming from the EU Atlantic Programme. Thanks to the EU Funds we can thus say that it was possible to develop a geographically speaking very broad project, that at the same time could create very close ties between its partners who collaborated for the atlantic area sake, with a unique and common interest.

Eric Amaral Garcia

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