The re-branding imperative for the Western Australian Pilbara region: Status quo to transformative cultural interpretations of local housing and settlement for a competetive geo-regional identity
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In a global market context, with growing societal concern to address economic disparities, global climate change, and perceptions of risk, the sustainable development agenda highlights the imperative for an industrial system that reconciles human values with those of the natural system. This transformative societal agenda elevates a more holistic and integrated notion of a 'competitive identity' place-branding strategy across the six societal areas of nation branding. This paper argues that understanding status quo culture is crucial to reframe interpretations of local strategy to this global transformative agenda. The paper focuses on the issue of housing and settlement in the remote and natural resource rich Pilbara region of Western Australia to explore how long-standing 'British, frontier and mining industry company town' interpretive values prevail. The paper explores why this approach limits 'competitive identity' advantages and argues why a locally responsive and globally competitive cultural shift is needed to enable the Pilbara geo-region to meet its sustainable development aspirations. Transforming the prevailing approach to housing and settlement is essential to improve the place branding performance of the Pilbara geo-region, indeed, the nation branding performance of Australia.
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