Theses (Historic Preservation)

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:

von Ahrens, Audrey Rose (2016). Imaging Place: Interpreting Place Identity Through Consumer Marketing Techniques for Non-Profit, Community Development and Business Improvement Organizations. (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.


There is significant potential to further capitalize on the use of graphic images to elicit memory, fortify sense of place and communicate preservation values as a tool for neighborhood revitalization and economic development. This thesis paper researches how designed branding strategies and visual communications have been used by place-based, community and business development organization as a consumer marketing tool. By compiling graphic examples from the current brand campaigns of these organizations, a descriptive analysis informs trends and identifies the current preservation theories and values being followed. Interviews allow this thesis to study the thought-process behind the branding strategies and why organizations have changed their brand identities over time through rebranding. By documenting the state of the art, this thesis further analyzes trends across the branding images and marketing campaigns of the organizations by applying methods used in the marketing profession. The analysis and research findings inform recommendations for best-practices and conclude that there is a potential to further utilize graphic images for successful marketing and branding of place-based economic development and neighborhood revitalization organizations.


rebranding, community branding, community identity, Main St, neighborhood revitalizations



Date Posted: 31 May 2016