Talking Arts

Yarra Talking Arts Forum Flyer – Digital Illustration and Graphic Design by Northside Creative

Planning the ‘creative city’ with Dr Kate Shaw

This forum presented findings from research into the idea of the ‘creative city’. Creative city strategies are often used as economic development strategies, with the intent of decreasing vacancy rates and increasing land values. The effect is to displace lower than best economic uses of land, including low and no-profit cultural activities. The contribution that alternative cultures make to established city cultures is well documented – the City of Amsterdam calls it ‘No Culture without Subculture’ – but few Australian governments accord creative subcultures a place in their planning policies. The presentation uses time-series maps of inner Melbourne to show the location of independent cultural activities from 1991 to 2009. These are overlaid with maps that track shifts in demographics, land values and voting patterns. Small cultural producers are being pushed into tighter and tighter clusters, but rather than going to where the land values are lowest, some are concentrating in the CBD and parts of Collingwood and Fitzroy. The presentation discusses the particular conditions that support the clustering in these areas. The forum concluded with an analysis of ‘creative city’-inspired urban renewal strategies, and a discussion of possible local and state government policy initiatives to encourage creative subcultures. The audience was invited to participate in this discussion.

Date: September 2012 Client: Yarra City Council Skills: Graphic Design, Illustration Website: