Skip to content

Attractiveness, branding and governance of regions

Understand the development of regions and cities in terms of attractiveness and competitiveness and learn how to develop corresponding strategies

← Back to courses
CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Master's
  • Phd
  • PhD candidates/students
Field of studies
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
10 October 2024- 31 March 2025

The notions of place and attractiveness have become central to our societies. At an institutional level, places are economically, socially and culturally homogenous entities that transcend political boundaries.

On a more economic level, places are increasingly competing with each other. Not only in terms of tourism and business, but also in terms of residential development. The COVID, for example, has played an important role in terms of residential attractiveness.

The management of these places poses an increasing number of problems to be solved. Firstly, at the political and governance level. New bodies, often involving public and private players, are needed to steer these structures, and public policies must be highly coordinated. For example, issues of mobility and spatial planning (public policies with a spatial impact) must be coordinated to ensure the sustainable development of a region. The same applies to fiscal and energy policies.

Secondly, in terms of strategy, these places must prioritisze the expected developments, whether in terms of maintaining and attracting companies to provide jobs, increasing or controlling tourist activity (overtourism in certain regions) or enhancing residential attractiveness (promoting the place to new residents, strengthening services for the population, etc.).

Finally, depending on the needs and priorities defined by these locations, branding and marketing measures need to be developed and implemented.


Main topics addressed

  • Attractiveness and competitiveness of place (mainly cities and regions)
  • Marketing and branding of place
  • Local governance and stakeholders’ analysis
  • Place attractiveness: successes and failures
  • Principles and targets of place branding and marketing
  • Tools for diagnosing and implementing attractiveness strategies
  • Assessing the impact of attractiveness strategie

Learning outcomes

The theme (place attractiveness, branding and governance) and the multidisciplinary approach make it possible to pursue five different types of learning objectives:

- Build reflexivity by questioning one's practices and adapting them to a complex territorial environment (city, region)

- Experimenting with a scientific approach by deploying mixed methods to analysze the attractiveness of a territory

- Mobilise a multi-disciplinary approach (political science, economics, management) to analyse the specificities of territorial attractiveness approaches.

- Mobilise tools directly linked to what is being done and observed in practice (concrete implementation from a cross-functional perspective)

- Mobilise a sytemic analysis tool for the sustainable development of a region (Climate Fresco)

Dates: 10 October 2024 - 31 March 2025 Total workload: 152  hours
Format: Blended ECTS: 6*
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland Language: English (B2)

*Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university.

Physical mobility

The face-to-face part will take place from 10 to 14 February 2025:

The physical component takes place in the middle of the course and aims to integrate the knowledge acquired previously (distance learning part) in two ways:

  • On the one hand, through the different types of attractiveness (economic, residential, tourist, etc.) and with presentations and discussions, to show the possibilities of integrating the tools seen previously (stakeholder analysis, attractiveness instruments, etc.);
  • On the other hand, to meet actors working on territorial attractiveness in different countries and critically question the strategies developed and the measures taken.

The programme of the physical component of the course merged as follows:

  • Monday :

- morning: Introduction of the physical session / The development of place attractiveness strategies

- afternoon: The example of a metropolis: Ghent or Aix-Marseille Provence

  • Tuesday:

- morning: Place and economic integration strategies (the cluster approach)

- afternoon: Lausanne and sport / Presentation of the Vaud/Lausanne strategy / Visit to an international sports organization (UEFA Nyon)

  • Wednesday:

- morning: Place and regional integration strategies

- afternoon: PDO/IGP presentation and analysis / Visit to the Maison du Gruyère


  • Thursday:

- morning: Place and residential integration strategies

- afternoon: Presentation of a concrete example: Auvergne


  • Friday:

- morning: Place and sustainable integration strategies (application of the fresco of the ecological renaissance)

- afternoon: Tour of Lausanne and meeting with Lausanne Tourisme

Virtual part

The virtual component will be conducted from 10 October 2024 - 31 March 2025

The first part of the virtual sessions will take place on Thursdays in the late afternoon (in principle from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm, Paris time - exact times to be announced).

  • 10.10.24 - Session 1: Public Policy and Place (all partners)
  • 17.10.24 - Session 2: Place and its characteristics (Solange Hernandez)
  • 24.10.24 - Session 4: Local governance and stakeholders’ analysis (Vincent Mabillard)
  • 31.10.24 - Session 3: Attractiveness and competitiveness (Renaud Vuignier)
  • 07.11.24 - Session 5: Types of territorial attractiveness: successes and failures (Laura Carmouze)
  • 14.11.24 - Session 6: Principles, phases and targets of place marketing (Christophe Alaux)
  • 21.11.24 - Session 7: Tools for diagnosing and implementing attractiveness strategies (Martial Pasquier)
  • 28.11.24 - Session 8: Assessing the impact of attractiveness strategies (Sarah Serval)

The second part of the virtual component, which will take place after the mobility part, will be devoted to personalised support for students working on a cross-disciplinary project mobilising all the knowledge acquired and illustrated during the mobility part. This support will take the form of regular monitoring of students via videoconferencing and group presentations.


This course is open to Master's and PhD students at CIVIS member universities with a background and/or a strong interest in the following scientific fields: Place Marketing, Place Branding, Policy coordination, Regional policy, Governance studies and to students with a Bachelor's degree in one of the following disciplines from social sciences: economy, political science, sociology, law, geography, environmental sciences, architecture.

Participants should also have a good level of written and spoken English (B2). 

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Click here to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

Students from CIVIS’ strategic partner universities in Africa can apply for participation in this course.


Application process

Send your application by filling in the online application form by 28 April 2024, including:

  • CV
  • Motivation letter (incl. reasons to participate in the course)
  • Level of English (B2)
  • Research project outlines

(Please upload the documents on the platform in one single PDF file)

Applications will be evaluated based on:

  • Discipline in which the student obtained his bachelor's degree and is completing his master's degree
  • Interest in subject (attractiveness of places)
  • Interest in interdisciplinary work
  • Possibility of finding a case study (a city or region) that can be used for the student's research.

Apply now


The estimated time required for the entire course (virtual and mobile parts) is 152 hours (6 ECTS).

The course will be assessed by two complementary assignments of approx. 15 pages each and a presentation.

  • The first assignment will be based on the contributions of the 8 virtual modules. Students will choose a city or region to which they will apply the lessons given. They will be asked to submit a document containing the following sections:

- The importance of territorial promotion in relation to the city's or region's public policies

- Description of a square and its main features (those that distinguish it from other squares)

- Attractiveness factors

- Positioning in terms of branding and marketing

- Stakeholders and organization of promotional activities

- Instruments used

  • The second task consists of analysing cities or regions from a comparative perspective. This involves taking a specific objective or dimension of territorial promotion and analyzing how this objective or dimension is dealt with in several cities or regions. Students can choose the objective or dimension, but examples include the analysis of sustainability in territorial promotion, the analysis of residential attractiveness or the analysis of promotion strategies through taxation.

- The time required to prepare and present this work is estimated at 40 hours.

- Each assignment and the presentation will be marked separately (i.e. 3 separate marks) and the final mark will be the average of the three marks.

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

  • Alaux Christophe, Professor, Director of the Chair in Attractiveness and New Territorial Marketing, Director IMPGT, Aix-Marseille Université. In charge of the MOOC on attractiveness and territorial marketing.
  • Carmouze Laura, Lecturer, Vice-director of the Chair in Attractiveness and New Territorial Marketing, Aix-Marseille Université.
  • Mabillard Vincent, Professor, Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management, Université Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Pasquier Martial, Professor, Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration, University of Lausanne.
  • Vincent Mabillard et Martial Pasquier are co-authors of the newly published book "Place Branding and Marketing from a Policy Perspective" (Routledge).