Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Gregory Smithsimon

Subject Categories

Advertising and Promotion Management | Marketing | Other Sociology | Place and Environment | Urban Studies and Planning


place branding, urban sociology, verticalisation, skyscrapers, Tokyo, New York


This thesis explores how place branding activities are amalgamated into the urban governance policies and how skyscrapers are weaved into this process by studying two of the top ten most vertical cities in the world: Tokyo and New York.

Fascination with building up towards the sky is nothing new. Yet what is new is that skyscrapers are becoming as part of place branding strategies which are seeping into urban governance practices. Concepts of place branding, urban development, spatial planning and governance are now being discussed and understood as significant elements of the same process where branding informs configurations and development of urban landscape in order to attract inward investment, work force, people and corporations. In this aspect of branding, skyscrapers not only play a visual and promotional role but also constitute a strategic importance in shaping urban skyline.

Through this study, the author, while acknowledging the inequalities, the segregations and the gaps within the complexities of the social and economic fabric of the urban cannot be reduced down to such megastructures, also seeks to navigate into hypernormalisation of skyscrapers and their implications on urban governance.