Skip to main content

CHAPTER D'OUVRAGE | Attractiveness of metropolises in terms of health and well-being

Scientific publications Residents and Talents SDG, Transition and Resilience
View the presentation
Article scientifique


Territorial attractiveness initiatives are largely based on highlighting their economic, geographic, infrastructural, social and cultural assets, and thus rely on material dimensions to attract residents, tourists, companies and project developers. Territorial attractiveness is based on "a dual strategic objective (...): finding a balance between the external attractiveness of the territory (i.e. attracting resources to create economic and social value) and internal attractiveness (i.e. retaining existing resources to promote their synergy)" (Alaux and Carmouze, 202, p. 34). In line with this definition, we will use the terms "territorial attractiveness strategy" and "territorial attractiveness approach" interchangeably.

In France, regions as a whole have done little to incorporate well-being and health into their attractiveness strategies, except in a timid or peripheral manner, for example through labels such as Cittaslow, which is positioned as a label for cities of the good life. However, it's undeniable that some regions have assets in this area that could be an original lever for territorial attractiveness strategies. In France, researchers (Musson, 2010; Bourdeau-Lepage et al., 2015; Bourdeau-Lepage,2020) have only recently begun to work on this issue to define what a "well-being territory" can be (Goldstein, 1996), but it remains to be seen how territories are seizing, or could seize, this positioning.

Empirically speaking, the recent United Nations (UN) survey of the world's happiest countries in 2022 illustrates the emergence of well-being as a promise or a social project to meet people's aspirations. A fortiori, if territories are bearers of identity, the latter has been widely studied through economic, physical (architectural heritage, gastronomy, landscapes), historical, and cultural prisms (Alaux et al., 2015; Alaux et al., 2020). Well-being and health as components of a territorial identity have been little studied and remain areas to be explored (Rochette, 2022), potentially carrying another type of identity. Indeed, in the current context, evidence suggests that individuals may increasingly choose where they live based on the well-being they associate with living in certain areas rather than others.

We therefore propose to explore how well-being and health are elements of communication in the service of attractiveness, and levers for thinking about territorial attractiveness strategies.

To do this, we will first set out the theoretical and conceptual framework that differentiates between well-being and health, and the links with territorial attractiveness (part 1).

Then, thanks to two exploratory studies carried out in 2021 and 2022 during the Place Marketing Forum (PMF), the annual event of the A&NMT Chair, we will highlight the growing interest of attractiveness players in positioning well-being and health as a lever in their strategies (part 2).

We then present two metropolises that have seized on health and well-being as key drivers of their attractiveness strategies (part 3). These international examples highlight the multidimensional, cross-functional and original nature of these approaches, and provide an initial look at marketing practices based on new dimensions of attractiveness. The first case study is that of the Belgian city of Gent (in Flemish, or Gand in French), with a population of 250,000 (560,000 in the urban area), located between Bruges and Antwerp, whose objective is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The second is the Canadian city of Vancouver, with a population of 630,000 and an urban area of 2.4 million, located in the province of British Columbia, with a collaborative vision: A healthy city for all.

Finally, we propose a research protocol designed to better understand and evaluate the place given to well-being and health in the attractiveness strategies deployed by territories (part 4).

Illustration : Adobe Stock - ©Daniel

Have a question or comment?
Contact the authors of the book chapter

Christophe ALAUX, Director, Chaire Attractivité et Nouveau Marketing Territorial (A&NMT) and Institut de Management Public et Gouvernance Territoriale (IMPGT) -

Laura CARMOUZE, Deputy Director of the Attractiveness and New Territorial Marketing Chair (A&NMT) -

Corinne ROCHETTE, Professor at IAE Clermont Auvergne School of Management -