In 2004 the city [of Amsterdam] decided they needed to attract a different kind of tourist. Less young scruffy types looking for weed, and more older tourists, families and organized tours with deeper pockets looking for culture and history.

Advertising agency Kessels Kramer came up with the Amsterdam' motto and logo to rebrand the city. A massive marketing offensive put 'I Amsterdam' logos on all communication in the city, websites, and campaigns, and placed a 23.5 metre wide 'I Amsterdam' logo in the museum district. By 2017 the number of tourists had doubled to eight million. The campaign brought in a lot of money, but not everyone profited.

Housing has always been scarce in the Netherlands, a country with one of the highest population densities in the world. The city of Amsterdam welcomed online platform Airbnb, which put pressure on the already tight housing market. The city of Amsterdam also actively promoted real estate to foreign investors. The I Amsterdam website boasts about 'Amsterdam's Unique Assets in High Demand' and 'Investors who have been sleeping for some years now, are waking up to the opportunities'. 42 The twelve percent growth on real estate revenue has made investment so lucrative that one in four houses is bought in cash by investors, and many of these apartments are immediately put on the high end rental market.

After the 2008 crisis, austerity measures had impacted the lower incomes more than average. Despite being one of the richest countries in the world, the number of homeless people in the city doubled in ten years. In 2016, one family was evicted from social housing on average every day, while in the same year 25,721 rooms were offered on Airbnb. Home owners are benefiting from exorbitantly growing prices, while renters are faced with skyrocketing rents and stagnant wages. This has led to the 'rise of the real estate class' of families who own real estate and pass it down along family lines. Those who do not own real estate, will sooner or later have to leave the city because of its high rents. In the 2018 municipal elections housing was one of the main topics. Myself and three other graphic designers created a series of posters to reclaim the city for all its inhabitants. Posted on a website, these could be downloaded for free and put up in front windows to show solidarity among residents in neighbourhoods. One group had downloaded the posters and pasted them all over the city.44 Our campaign was not aimed at blaming Nutella stores or Airbnb for the city becoming unaffordable, as they are merely symbols of how the city council has allowed profitability to reign over liveability. City governments-like national governments-are representatives of the city's population, elected to decide what policies are in the best interest of all citizens. We have grown so accustomed to property ownership given priority over the right to housing, that a city like Amsterdam has a growing homeless population, while nine percent of the real estate stands vacant as investment, and 21,000 apartments are rented out via Airbnb. Amsterdam apartments rented to tourists were the most expensive in Europe in 2019.

If cities are popular places to live, this will ultimately lead to rising real estate prices no matter what policies are in place. The point here is not that a city should close itself to tourism, or only cater to lower-income residents. But when public buildings and social housing are actively being sold off to become hotels or expensive apartments-as the city of Amsterdam has done- and subsequent rising real estate prices make the city unaffordable for everyone but the wealthiest, then the city is literally selling itself.

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Perhaps the best-known city brand is 'I Love New York'. The short famous logo was designed by Milton Glaser in 1977 for ad agency Wells Rich Greene. At the time, Glaser thought it was campaign and it wouldn't do much, and he didn't even receive any payment for his logo. As a native New Yorker, he saw the logo as his contribution to making the city a cleaner and safer place. In an interview from 2003, Glaser recalls the city at the time: 'You were just walking through all this dog shit day after day, in this filthy city, garbage, and so on.'

By the end of World War II New York was a manufacturing city. In the decades that followed, jobs started disappearing when the garment industry began outsourcing to low-wage countries. Wealthy New Yorkers moved to the suburbs, and the mechanization of the cotton industry brought unemployed workers to the city. With the rich leaving the city, tax revenues plummeted, and the city was struggling to make ends meet. New York saw crime figures rising and the subway was notoriously unsafe. At least, that is the narrative of the wealthy upper class, because although the city was struggling financially, it became the birthplace of an abundance of art and music movements. Hip Hop, Punk, Salsa Brava, and No Wave all started around this time, and New York was home to the most vibrant and diverse art and music scenes in the world up to the late 1980s.

Music and art didn't bring in enough taxes, however, and New York City almost went bankrupt in 1975. President Ford refused a federal bailout, which left the city with no other option than to ask the banks for help. The banks did not bend over so easily, and demanded that the city would impose austerity measures, meaning cut spending on public transport, healthcare, free university edu cation, and social housing. The new policies were clearly aimed to stop people of colour from coming to New York. Housing administrator Roger Starr said 'Stop the Puerto Ricans and the rural blacks from living in the city... reverse the role of the city... it can no longer be the place of opportunity.' At the request of the banks, welfare programmes were cut, wages were frozen, and the free CUNY university introduced tuition fees. 47,412 city employees were laid off, among whom 19,000 teachers, 2,000 street sweepers and 20 percent of the police force. Spending on public transport and hospitals was reduced. Instead, the city started handing out tax cuts for business es to attract investment. $100 million in property tax breaks were given in 1980-81 to companies such as Philip Morris, AT&T, Chase Manhattan, and Lehman Brothers. By 1978, corporations paid only half of the tax rate compared to rates at the end of World War II.

What about the logo? On top of austerity measures and tax breaks, bankers insisted changing the image of the city. Instead of attracting struggling artists, the city needed to attract wealthy tourists to visit its theatres and museums to bring in money. The campaign with Milton Glaser's famous logo included commercials with Broadway actors, singers, and dancers performing the I Love New York theme song. It was a success. Hotel occupancy went up 20 percent, and more than 90,000 requests from the tourism branch came after the commercials aired.

But successful for whom? The city's new image made New Yorkers proud of their city, but it also came at a tremendous cost. Government workers that were laid off were predominantly black and Puerto Rican. Healthcare and university education was no longer free, public transport deteriorated (most of the wealthy New Yorkers did not use the subway) and the layoffs in the police force led to rising crime rates until 1990. Social geographer David Harvey writes that the power of the New York working class was undone in a few years.

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