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Brief Published: 1 Jun 2011

Nike Brands the City


Capitalising on the power of localisation – and the potential for retailers to facilitate social change (see our report: Project Ocean) – sports brand Nike has been infiltrating urban communities around the world this month with its branded spaces.

Last week, the Nike 6.0 Pool BMX park launched in East London, while in Tokyo earlier this month, the brand took over (somewhat controversially) a public park in the fashionable Shibuya district.

The Nike Park includes an athletic park, skate park and climbing wall, designed by Japanese architects Atelier Bow Wow. It marks an especially noteworthy shift in the nature of branded spaces in Japan, as it is one of the first public spaces in the country to be branded (rather than just sponsored) by a foreign company.

The project represents the appealing possibility of the improvement of public spaces without the need for public funding. However, it is currently causing controversy due to the eviction of a homeless community from the park on which the brand's mega play-space now stands.

The 6.0 Pool has caused less of a furore. The brand bought a former disused community pool and transformed it into a BMX park for local riders and young people in Dagenham, reinvigorating the discarded space.