Regeneration of urban places – the vitality of culture

Image: Here East.

Image: Here East.

Arts and culture underpin the connections between place and people, creating vibrancy, spurring innovation and giving our cities and public spaces a distinctive local identity.

Arts NSW has been working with partners across Government to integrate these ideas into some of Sydney’s big infrastructure projects. Environmental scanning has been critical to our approach, enabling us to surface emerging trends, learnings and best practice to shape the opportunities before us.

Regeneration of urban places

As part of this work, we attended a Committee for Sydney discussion led by Jerome Frost OBE, Global Planning Leader of Arup (based in London) to hear more about the regeneration of urban places in the innovation economy and how arts and culture fits into these discussions.

Arts and culture are crucial components to build these creative communities.

Kings Cross Station

Examples of where arts and culture have encouraged regeneration include the Kings Cross Station redevelopment in London. Here, larger cultural institutions like the University of the Arts and the British Library are anchor tenants of a creative cluster, attracting smaller galleries, performing arts organisations and entrepreneurial businesses keen to be in proximity. The presence of arts and culture spills over into the streets, sparking conversation and invention and bringing to life public spaces, day and night.

Here East

The conversion of the London Olympics media and broadcasting centre into Here East is another example. Situated next to Hackney Wick, an old industrial area which houses artists and designers, Here East is an attractive proposition for businesses and entrepreneurs keen to be part of the area’s creative capital.

The message reinforced throughout Frost’s presentation was the need for a human-centred approach. People want to live in places that are human-centred with social capital. It is precisely these places with a cross-disciplinary approach that have a strong arts and culture presence, which in turn engenders a sense of place.

The challenge is clear: if cities are to be successful in creating thriving public spaces, we need to ensure that the heart of their success – the individual, the cultural, the ability to make connections – is not pushed out.

Arts NSW is championing the integration of arts and culture in the urban design process, informing the consultation, design and planning of new places.


To continue our scan of international best practice, Arts NSW is proud to partner with REMIX.

At the June summit, we are co-curating a panel of speakers in charge of leading major cultural precincts. Our panelists are:

We are excited to share how arts and culture are at the centre of these projects, providing new insight to growing creative communities across NSW.

To find out more about the Arts NSW Remix sessions and to purchase discounted tickets click here

To learn more about Jerome Frost’s talk, visit the Committee for Sydney’s website.

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Published: 25 May 2016