Should places change their names?
Staines is the latest town thinking of changing its name. There are many reasons why places would want to and do change their names, often it is to disassociate from the past. It is understandable that St Petersburg should prefer to embrace its Tsarist origins rather than the communist name of Leningrad. Or else the change may be to more traditional names such as from Bangalore to Bengaluru. Even some countries change name, as is the case with Burma officially becoming Myanmar. Should places change their name if they are simply worried about their image as Staines is?
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it could be used to attract tourists
Places that have plain and boring Norman and Saxon names, they don't make places sound attractive of exciting. By allowing places to change their name, we are allowing them an opportunity to make the place sound more exciting. Every place should have the opportunity to maximise the revenue they make through tourism. This is especially true in times of recession whereby every place should be given the opportunity to make its occupants money.
How can this be true, surely by changing name, you are taking away from the history of a place and therefore losing tourism? If you change a name steeped in history you will lose all the reasons that would attract tourists! You would also confuse the maps meaning that upon looking for a place to visit the change of name would confuse people. If they were using an outdated map, they would not be able to cook the hotels they were looking for under the old place name.
It could be used to improve reputation
Many things can happen in a town that leaves a negative connotation on a place name. Staines has had the negative effect of Ali G placed upon it. The town is not happy with the fact that its name to most people now would only serve as a reminder of the show that Ali G did portraying Staines as containing low class individuals who behave badly [[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturenews/8103333/Exit-Ali-G-its-Staines-upon-Thames-innit.html]] There is no reason why a place should not be able to change its name in order to combat the association.
This would not result in less negative connotation, but more! Especially where a comedy sketch is the reason behind the name change. The change of name would only reignite comedic attention to the place wishing to hide from those connotations. The change of name would almost become part of the negative connotation.
it could more accurately describe the place
Let us not forget that the likelihood is that the place will not want the name changed drastically. Instead they will want minor tweaks and amendments in order to describe the place more accuratly. A case in point would be Staines. [[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturenews/8103333/Exit-Ali-G-its-Staines-upon-Thames-innit.html]] They wish to change to Staines upon Thames just so that people know that it does have good transport links with London. Whilst people may know about the Ali G shows that negatively portrayed Staines, not many people know where abouts in England the place actually is. By letting people know where the place is, they are more likely to gain tourists and also residents.
It could become too commercial
The idea of places changing their names is ridiculous, and it will lead to corporations bidding for places to be named after their business. We can see this with Topeka, 7 Councilors and not one objected to the country being called Google for a month[[http://cjonline.com/news/local/2010-03-01/topeka_to_be_google_kansas]]! The whole concept is ridiculous. We need our cities and countries to remain neutral from commercial entities. We cannot have places named after large businesses. This would amount to unfair competition as large corporations would be the only ones with enough money to fund such advertising. This would lead to an unfair saturation of the market.
The reason why the Topekans wish t be called Google for one month is not for the benefit of the company, but for the benefit of the country. They want it to be publicisied that they want to be part of Google's new experimental fiber optics. Once again, a place should be able to promote itself in any way it likes. Other countries should try to be more imaginative if they wish to attract the attention of large corporations for similar projects.
What do you think?