In recent decades, urban policymakers have increasingly embraced the selling of naming rights as a means of generating revenue to construct and maintain urban infrastructure. The contemporary practice of toponymic commodification has its roots in the history of philanthropic gifting and the commercialization of professional sports, yet it has now become an integral part of the policy toolkit of neoliberal urbanism more generally. As a result, the naming of everything from sports arenas to public transit stations has come to be viewed as a sponsorship opportunity, yet such naming rights initiatives have not gone uncontested.
This edited collection examines the political economy and cultural politics of urban place naming and considers how the commodification of naming rights is transforming the cultural landscapes of contemporary cities. Drawing upon case studies ranging from the selling of naming rights for sports arenas in European cities and metro stations in Dubai to the role of philanthropic naming in the "Facebookification" of San Francisco's gentrifying neighborhoods, the contributions to this book draw attention to the diverse ways in which toponymic commodification is reshaping the identities of public places into time-limited, rent-generating commodities and the broader implications of these changes on the production of urban space.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Urban Geography.
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