Creative Cities and Spaces

This theme responds to the convergence of two urban policy agendas. First, the ‘Creative City’ which attempts to mobilise culture and creativity for city branding and urban regeneration; cultural economy growth; and new forms of urban planning and governance. Second, ‘Smart City’ concerned with the application of digital infrastructure, sensors and data capture devices, and large scale computing power to previously distinct ‘social’ and governmental dimensions of urban life.

​The intersection of these two agendas will raise some fundamental urban and cultural policy issues:

  • New spatial practices in urban and public spaces enabled by mobile computing and communications devices, linked to new forms of data flows, ‘sharing’ applications and spatially embedded social media platforms;
  • New forms of media display in public spaces, with large screens, programmable building facades, public digital visualisations and art interventions, alongside the multiplication of programmable screens in lifts, public transport, building foyers, cafes and so on:
  • Cultural planning increasingly using aggregated audience data from ticketing and other retail services;
  • New digitally enabled forms of generation and participation in (often cultural) urban events and projects, as well as modes of co-creation and co-curation with large-scale cultural institutions;
  • On-line communication now essential to many ‘independent’ artists’ careers, as well as transformative of the management of large-scale cultural industries;
  • Digital infrastructure impacting on long-term working patterns in the cultural sector, with the necessity of face to face communication and urban proximity altered (not replaced) by digital communication;
  • New possibilities of transnational communities built around both face-to-face and long-distance digital communications.

Spaces of Making and Creating

Spaces of Making and Creating is built around our existing ARC Discovery Project on Culture and Manufacture (Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, LA, New York, Berlin, Shenzhen). The Melbourne case centres on the inner north and involves an ongoing collaboration with Collingwood Arts Precinct (Dr. Xin Gu and Dr. Pip Shea). We are conducting mapping and qualitative interviews with creative businesses in the area and their relationship both to urban space issues and links to manufacturing and making.

A precursor to this work was a scoping project with Dan Hill from Arup Digital Lab in London, and Marcus Westbury from the Contemporary Arts Precincts.