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Title: Nantes's Atlantic Problem
Author(s): Marshall, Bill
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Editor(s): Donald, Stephanie Hemelryk
Kofman, Eleonore
Kevin, Catherine
Citation: Marshall B (2008) Nantes's Atlantic Problem. In: Donald SH, Kofman E & Kevin C (eds.) Branding Cities: Cosmopolitanism, Parochialism, and Social Change. Routledge Advances in Geography. New York: Routledge (of Taylor & Francis), pp. 123-136.
Keywords: Nantes
Urban geography
City and town life
Sociology, Urban
Social change
Nantes (France) Buildings, structures, etc.
City planning France Nantes
Issue Date: Dec-2008
Date Deposited: 31-Mar-2009
Series/Report no.: Routledge Advances in Geography
Abstract: First paragraph: The city of Nantes has been one of the most successful in France in recent years in reinventing itself. Indeed, the re-branding narrative that can be told is one familiar from elsewhere in the western world. In 1989, the Parti socialiste returned to municipal power under Jean-Marc Ayrault, who has been the mayor ever since. The city’s new image was developed with the aid of the advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi, and the narrative selections that emerged favoured openness, métissage, qualified employment in the tertiary sector, culture and the environment over old industry and social confrontations. (The last shipyard in Nantes closed in 1987). These strategies have worked, as the city enjoyed in the 1990s an economic growth rate twice the national average. The mayor’s editorial in the municipal journal in 1992 took up the idea of the port and thus of openness to the outside world, to adventure (the Jules Verne museum is a significant tourist attraction, although there is little on Nantes in his novels), and cosmopolitanism: “When Nantes opens wide its doors and windows, it’s a city capable of anything”; the taste for adventure is inscribed in her genes, the city’s motto, dating from the Restoration, is Favet Neptunus eunti, ‘Neptune favours those who set off’. In Nantes, there is a ‘West Coast ‘ effect, its identity is an Atlantic one, for the city “has always experienced periods of take-off when it has opened out to the world”.1 (This despite the fact that Nantes’s population of foreign birth is around 2% instead of the national average of 7%, although since the French census does not ask about ethnicity figures on its visible minorities this figure can only be guessed at.) The phrase ‘Nantes-Atlantique’ names the airport, football team, and port itself, which, taking into account the agglomeration with St Nazaire at the mouth of the Loire (where successful shipbuilding still takes place) is the most important on Europe’s Atlantic façade.
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