AbstractIn this article the authors explore the potential of the popular concept of identity branding for urban renewal and urban development. They describe the case of a neighbourhood in Ede, where branding was thought to have been very successful by all those involved. However, a more in depth analysis shows that the assigned identity of the neighbourhood did not play any role in this success. In an effort to explain this discrepancy, the authors argue that branding was not directed at the symbolic space of the neighbourhood, but merely at the social and physical space. Drawing on theoretical literature on identity construction, the authors end with some suggestions to enhance a more fruitful use of the symbolic space in urban renewal and urban development.