Cities for Sale

Municipalities as Public Relations and Marketing Firms

By Staci M. Zavattaro

Subjects: Political Communication, State And Local Politics, Public Administration, Political Science
Paperback : 9781438446820, 152 pages, January 2014
Hardcover : 9781438446813, 152 pages, May 2013

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Table of contents

1. Selling a City
2. Metaphor in Public Administration
3. Government, Governance, and the Market
4. Communication, Marketing, and Public Relations
5. Cities as PR and Marketing Firms: The Framework
6. Implications for Citizen Participation and Democratic Governance
7. Patterns, Limitations, and Future Research

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


Today's cities are competing with each other on many levels—for our business, for our residency, for our tourism dollars, for our employment, and much more. Especially in light of market models of governance seeping into the public sector, it has become both necessary and prudent for city staff to undertake place promotion to attract many potential stakeholders. In Cities for Sale, Staci M. Zavattaro reveals that cities are increasingly acting like private-sector public relations and marketing firms in scope, value, and practice. To promote their cities, public administrators are embracing tactics such as branding, media relations, in-house publication, and the use of volunteers or outside organizations as PR surrogates. This shift in communication patterns from providing public information to city self-promotion has, Zavattaro argues, both positive and negative implications for democratic governance and citizen participation.

Staci M. Zavattaro is Assistant Professor of Public Administration at Mississippi State University.


"This book is worthy of attention by students of public administration and the media. " — CHOICE