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Creative People and Gentrification: "Sowing the Seeds of Demise?

" Evidence from Newtown,


Sydney (Kreative und Gentrifizierung: "Sen sie die Saat fr ihren eigenen Untergang?"
Erkenntnisse aus Newtown, Sydney)
Author(s): Melanie Fasche
Source: Erdkunde, Bd. 60, H. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 2006), pp. 147-156
Published by: Erdkunde
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25647838
Accessed: 18-07-2015 22:50 UTC

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Fasche: Creative people and gentrification: "Sowing the seeds of demise?" 147

M.

CREATIVE

"SOWING THE
PEOPLE AND GENTRIFICATION:
EVIDENCE FROM NEWTOWN, SYDNEY

SEEDS OF DEMISE?"

With 3 figures
Melanie

und Gentrifizierung:

Zusammenfassung: Kreative
town, Sydney
Die post-industrielle
regime assoziiert,
auszeichnet.
Die

Okonomie

wird mit

sich durch

welches

Fasche

sie die Saat

?Saen

einem Wechsel

fiir ihren eigenen

von einem

die flexible Produktionsweise

fordistischen

designorientierter

Untergang?"

Erkenntnisse

aus New

zu einem
Produktions
post-fordistischen
und informationsreicher
Unternehmen

zu den sich am
kultureller Giiter und Dienstleistungen
tatigen Sektoren gehoren
dyna
der heutigen Zeit. Kleine
kreative Unternehmen
auch als die treibenden Krafte
fiir
unter den sog. Kulturindustrien
etwas abseits der etablierten Ge
haben meist
Innovationen
ihren Standort
angesehen
in Gebieten,
schaftszentren
die sich durch ihr kulturelles Flair, urbane Lebensstile
und Kiinstlerszenen
auszeichnen.
Die Be
zu ihrem raumlichen Wohnzu
der
Kulturindustrien
scheinen
eine
und
Arbeitsumfeld
haben.
schaftigten
spezielle Beziehung

mischsten

in der Produktion

entwickelnden

Sektoren

ver
basieren auf dieser raumlichen
kulturellen Codierung. Mit fortschreitender Gentrifizierung
Marketingkampagnen
ihre Attraktivitat fiir ?Kreative".
Der Fokus der hier zugrunde
lieren diese Areale moglicherweise
liegenden Untersuchung
liegt
auf einem sich im Gentrifizierungsprozess
befindlichen
auf ?Kreativen",
die in diesem Gebiet
leben und arbeiten
Gebiet,

Lokale

sowie auf dem Einfluss

lokaler Politik. Es

Dariiber
hinaus werden
Kulturproduktion.
litat des kulturellen Feldes und andererseits
Interessen
Gebietes
Bourdietjs

untersucht.

Basierend

in Sydney, wird

versucht

Habitus-Konzept

der Beziehung
zwischen dem konkreten Ort und der dortigen
erfolgt eine Analyse
einerseits der Einfluss des fortschreitenden Gentrifizierungsprozesses
auf die Vita

der der Lokalpolitik


auf die Vermittlung
zwischen kulturellen und okonomischen
aus Newtown,
der vorliegenden
Fallstudie
eines innerstadtischen
Ergebnissen
zu
dass
die
Raum
zwischen
und
Gesellschaft
mit Hilfe von
zeigen,
komplexe
Beziehung

auf

begrifflich

den

gefasst werden

kann.

is associated
with the shift from the Fordist to the Post-Fordist
economy
economy where
Summary: The
post-industrial
work within a new flexible mode
information-rich
sectors engaged
of production.
The
in pro
design-orientated,
companies
economic
frontiers today. Small creative businesses,
ducing cultural goods and services constitute some of the most dynamic
to be the major
also imagined
driver for innovation within the cultural industries, tend to locate away from established
busi
ness

centres but close

to areas

for
cultural amenities, urban lifestyles and artistic scene. People
in cul
employed
tr^eir
to their working and living environment.
are
Local marketing
special relationship
campaigns
areas
based on this cultural claim to space. With proceeding
lose
their
attractiveness
for
creative
gentrification
might
people.
The focus of this study is on a neighbourhood
creative people
undergoing
gentrification,
living and working within this neigh
tural industries

seem

to have

known

bourhood

and the influence of local government


the specific place and cultural production
policies. The relationship between
if the process of gentrification
is damaging
the viability of the cultural realm
gets analysed more closely before it is examined
and to which extent the influence of local politics can mediate
between
cultural and economic
interest. By drawing on case
one of
from Newtown,
inner city areas, it is aimed at demonstrating
that the complex
study evidence
Sydney's
relationship
between
in terms of BoURDIEU's
habitus concept.
space and society can be conceptualized

The culturaleconomy
and itsworkforce

Ll

The emergence
of culturalindustries

shiftfrom the industrial to the post-industrial


economy isdominated by the rise of financial and busi
ness services and cultural industries - the latter also
referred to as creative industries. It is the shiftfrom an
industrial economy based on mass production of stan
dardized commodities to an increasinglyglobalized ser
vice-led economy characterised bymore flexible forms
of production, a dramatic increase in the production
The

and consumption of symbolic goods and the centrality


of innovation, design and knowledge as determinants
of competitive success (scott 1997). The cultural in
dustries today constitute some of the most dynamic
economic

sectors,

connectedness

or

a process
reflecting
even
convergence

of
of

growing
cultural

inter
and

economic development or, in Lash and Urry's words


(1994, 109), "an increasing culturalization of the flexi
ble

economy".

Cultural entrepreneurs are directly involved in stylis


tic innovation as they embody, interpret, reinterpret
and generate cultural attributesand expressions through

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148_Erdkunde_Band

theproduction of distinctive goods and serviceswhich,


in

as

function

of meaning
in
images,
and
sounds.
It
is
the
cultural
symbols,
signs
compo
nent of many
consumer
that stands at the fore
goods
turn,

front

of

their

extremely

carriers

economic

value.
in

heterogeneous

Cultural
their

are

products

substance,

appear

ance and sectored origin.According tothrosby


(2001)
cultural products may first originate from core art
industriescomprising all traditional artforms such as

60/2006

1.2 Creativepeople are "spacepeople"


BoURDlEU's research in France in the late 1960s,
early 1970 revealed a newmiddle classbreaking with the
established field of the petty bourgeoisie and attempt
ing a radical change of the existing hierarchies of cul
tural distinction "whose most refined expression is a
towards

propensity

aesthetics

and

aestheticism"

(BOUR

as

DIEU 1984, 55). This aesthetic reflexivityfindsitsexpres


sion in the desire to create the self as work of art and in
individualized consumption by transforming ordinary
materials into valued objects whose value derive from
the claim of difference and authenticity.Taste differ
ences are at the heart of what BOURDIEU identifiesas

zine publishing. And thirdly cultural products may


derive from relatedindustries
essentially operating outside
the cultural sphere but whose products could be re

aesthetic has emerged in everyday living: the impor


tance of not just food but cuisine, not just clothes but
designer labels, not just decoration but objets d'art, the

music,

theatre,

dance,

the visual

and

non-cultural

the crafts,

arts,

litera

ture and newer forms of practice such as video art,


computer and multimedia art. Secondly, theymay also
emanate from otherculturalindustries
producing hybrid

forms

of cultural

in film,

as

garded
cluding

radio,

television,

some

having

advertising,

book

and

or cultural

creative

tourism

such

components

newspaper,

and

content

architectural

cultural

maga

in

services.

A large proportion of the cultural industries ismade


of micro and small enterprises imagined to be thema
jor driver for innovation and creativitywithin the sector
(O'connor
1998). In order to keep pace with ever
consumer
tastes and to be able to detect and
changing
to
respond
increasingly niched and volatile markets,
these micro
dynamic,

and

small

enterprises
based,

creatively

are more

information-rich

flexible,

and less hierarchical than their Fordist counterparts


(lash a. Urry
1994). In comparison to other busi
nesses of the globalized service economy associated

with locations in the Central Business District (cbd)


these micro

and

small

cultural

enterprises

to locate

tend

away from established business centres but close to


areas

for

known

their

cultural

urban

amenities,

2000; Leslie
lifestyles and artistic scenes (hutton
are
These
areas"
often
old working
1997).
"lifestyle
class

quarters

adjacent

to the cbd,

which

are

undergo

ing gentrification visible through residential rehabilita


tions and distinct consumption and lifestylepatterns of
the new middle class. ^ The process of gentrification
can

be

more

seen

as

complex

a facet

process

linked

articulation

spatial
to
profound

of

transforma

tions in capitalist societies: the restructured industrial


base with the shiftto a service economy and the associ
ated transformation of the class structure (ley
Smith 1996).

^ Gentrification

can be defined

cal

and
stocking
housing
?
areas
residential
cheaper
researchers

usually

ends.

1996;

as reinvestment

class-based

this is where

in physi
colonisation
of

agreement

among

distinction.

new

social

residence
is no longer a suburban
home but a renovated
former working-class
in urban downtown.
house
Urban
or the inner
areas
are the
downtown
where
city
places

thisaesthetic lifestylefinds its spatial articulation. These

areas

are

tion

of representation
and
places
as such
involved
increasingly
recombinations
of meanings.

and

tions and

identity forma
in transforma

Creative people such as design, creative and cultural


and
professionals
more
middle class

innovative,

to maintain

strategies

artisans
recently

are

not

also

only part
as
labelled

of

the new

creative class

(FLORIDA 2002)
they seem to be itsprecursors. As cul
tural producers they are directly involved in construct
ing and transmittingmessages about themeaning of
consumption predisposing and defining lifestylesand
identities of broad fractions of themiddle class. They
are specialists inproducing, consuming and promoting
cultural products as they are linked to themarket not
only exclusively through research but through individ
ual intuitionand market identification.Creative people
are

their realm

the new concern


expanding
to a wider
self-exploration
sphere.
seems to be the urban, where
the intri

relationship

between

cultural

with
And
cate

intermediaries

aesthetics

and

identity

construction,

mater

ial design and cultural production gets played out, in


short,creative people have a special relationship to their
environment, they are "space people" (HELBRECHT
1998, 7).According toZUKIN (1991) creative people are

the key agents of gentrification, not only by moving


into an area but by their ability to transform its sym
bolic and spatial practices. Although the pursuit of dif
ference, diversity and distinction isnot without contra
diction, the concern with culture merely opens new
fieldsof consumption, which exposed to forces of cap
ital slowly but surely commodify the object of their
desire

the otherness

gets mass-produced.

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Fasche: Creative people and gentrification: "Sowing the seeds of demise?" 149

M.

Places initiallyfrequented by artisticworkers become


for cultural

attractive

The

entrepreneurs.

population

and entrepreneurs that follow do not enter the field


haphazardly but in a succession that is shaped by their
proximity to aesthetic disposition and cultural compe
tency, from a position of high in cultural and low in
economic capital to a position of lower in cultural but
1984). Profes
higher in economic capital (bourdieu
who
share
those
sionals, particularly
something of an
antipathy
social and

towards

commerce

cultural

professionals

like

tioners

followed

such
capital,
in turn, are
who,

producers

media-workers,
greater
prac

by business

followed

people.

incomes, rents and property

investment

rise and

cultural

journalists,
with
by professionals
as
and medical
lawyers

All thewhile disposable


prices

as

such

convention,

and

students,

intellectuals,
etc. are
educators
economic

and

into the area.

flows

capital

Creative people get annexed by urban developers


"building upon foundations of gentrification" (Bad
cock 1995). The state's substantive legitimatingof the
cultural

to urban

claim

space marked

ers as a symbol of growth (Zukin


even

label

tween

and more

more

become

as "creative

themselves

grows,

places

cultural

produc

1991). Some cities


as

And

cities".

places
be
and competition
seems
to be a blue

important

gentrification

print for policy strategies of rehabilitating and revital


areas.

urban

izing

as a

emerging

spontaneous

trend becomes
(1998,

231)

transformation

spatial
and

loosely

planned. According
urban

"culture-based

initially
institutionalised

to O'connor
strate

regeneration

gies by a quasi-political body dominated by a free en


terprise ethos with an anti-cultural bias, working with
development capital to form cultural landscapes are
very
lose

limited"
their allure

and
even

often

even

if heritage

damaging.
preservation,

Areas

may

historical,

and cultural theming ispart of the development policy,


these
ments

areas

based

consumption

become
on
are

too

too sterile.
planned,
Develop
aethetisisation
and
cultural
images,
often with
limited
resonance,
espe

acter

and

creative

environment.
their physical
seem
their enterprises

of

appearance

Moreover,

and

people

their

of

local

surrounding

of economic

dynamos

in the new

progress

on

sectors

the cultural

in urban

plementation

industrial

quarters,

leisure

lifestyle,

policies

regeneration

class

former working

form abandoned
and

sites and

What is the relationship between cultural production


and its location about? Why is cultural production oc
in
curring
colonisation

area?
Is the gradual
economic
particular
of the cultural
realm
involuntarily
damag

ing the area's viability and sustainability?Which role


plays the influence of local politics? Are local politics
able
ests

to mediate
or even

between
govern

and

cultural

them

economic

a sustainable

towards

to case

tention

inner

Sydney's

study evidence
city suburbs.

anti-economic
upside-down

in economic
economic

terms,

to understand

this

world".

2 Aims and conceptualapproach


The central thesis arising from the preceding re
marks is that there is a special relationship between cre
ative people and their environment as creative people
seem

to be

extraordinarily

sensitive

towards

the char

neigh

one

from Newtown,

of

2.1 Reinventingtheconceptof thehabitus


sociological concept of the habitus consists of a
of
system
incorporated thinking,perception and activ
itypatterns that regulate individual habits and activities
which, in turn, are embedded in one's biography, the
specific social situation and the surrounding cultural
milieu. The habitus is the generative principle of life
The

styles

and

their

representations.

to BOUR

According

DIEU (1980) the habitus can be defined as both 'being


structured

and

structure'.

structuring

The

as mutual,

This is what bourdieu


(1993, 40) describes as the
failure of "economism, which seeks to grasp this

inter

bourhood? First itwill be demonstrated that this com


plex relationship between space and society can be
conceptualized in terms of the habitusbefore paying at

society

landscapes.

of

consumption.

reproducing

cultural

to trans

residential

into areas

waterfronts

namic,

into

Fur

creation.

for employment

thermore the cultural claim to space has found its im

the

areas

econ

service

omy. Not surprisingly,that in times of rising levels of


structuralunemployment political interesthas focussed

under ongoing negotiation by being

of

milieu.

cultural

place-based

the other hand cultural industries are regarded as

On

cially among creative people regarded to be crucial to


transformations

to

be highly dependent on negotiations and articulations

and

generating

habitus

is

static and dy
all

at

the

same

time.On the one hand thehabitus itself is structuredby


its surrounding contexts; on the other hand the habitus
structures itsenvironment through (the sum of) individ
ual habits and activities. The concept of the habitus
conceptualizes the relationship between individual and
process

and

between

habitus

is contrary

between

structure

standardization

and

agency

and

change

as
as

dialectical. In this sense the theoretical concept of the


to common

more

clear-cut

concepts

of sociological analysis.
Related to an anthropology of the city (LINDNER
2003) is the anthropomorphic concept of comparing a

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150ErdkundeBand 60/2006
specificplace to a person with itsown biography. It fol
lows the idea, thatplaces, too, have their own habitus,
in the sense of PIERRE BOURDIEU. The habitus of place
can be conceptualized as the present perception of the
ensemble

place's

of

economic,

social,

cultural,

affecthow theyuse their social, cultural and economic


environment

and

nations

political features and itsphysical structure. In this sense


the place becomes a metaphor for its space which is
socially

constructed

and marked

with

an

role as

important

intermediaries

and

can

between

inspiration

and

be

emotions

the local

within

interpreted

as

a process

area.
of

of

social

differentiation

tural urban

landscapes

are

structured

and,

^^^S^SmSSnfwr 1*?y i!j

^^^j^^wX

^^^^

Fzg 7: Sydney
Connell

into

spa

in turn, ex

pressed by a habitus informingand formed by aesthetic


views and practices including the occupation and val
orisation of space (Ley 2003).

x^fla^^B

Sowra:

con

of lifeand the amenities that shape the emerging cul

soci

^^^^^^^^^^^^

identity

transformed

^^^^^^^^^^

Tasmania^

Gentrifica

- in
tialpractice
other words, a spatial strategy through
which social differences are turned into social distinc
tion. In this sense residential choices, the new stylisation

ety and space. The creative peoples' subjective, imag


ined and emotional response to a particular place may

stimulation

struction through the construction of a place but whose


identity ispermanently under negotiation as meanings
shiftand blur over time and between places. It is a
process

Central to the following consideration is that indi


vidual relationships to history and place form individu
als and groups and in reciprocal ways they form them.
In the process of gentrification creative people seem to
play

tion

attitudes.

and thehabitusofplace
2.2 Gentrification

for aesthetic

and that response, in turn,may shape both, individual


identities,perceptions and beliefs and collective imagi

2000

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M.

can

of gentrification

the process

Thus,

Fasche: Creative people and gentrification: "Sowing the seeds of demise?" 151

be

alized as an example of structuring space finding its


articulation in a specific place habitus which, in turn,
reinforces a distinct spatial identity.The trajectories
and

are

signs of gentrification

to a

large

mined by the local context inwhich society and space


form a conspiracy constructing each other but which is
also deeply embedded in national and even global
social
tion

and

economic

itself gets

trends,

in other

words:

gentrifica

structured.

and

business

of

can

restructuring

both Australia-wide and within Sydney


ing
more
ing"

sectors
or
and

such

and

in the
such

above

be

as

and
services",
"mining"
"public
sectors
such as "manufactur
stagnating
but
also
"finance
and
insur
"transport",

centre
and

"property

of

the dominant

business

services"

sectors
growth
in absolute
both

numbers of jobs and with the highest share of 28.5 per


cent of employment inAustralia's entire "property and
services

business

sector".

In

sector

services

2001,
became

property
Sydney's
sector
the largest

city's workforce
A
survey of

or

1 in 7
jobs.

"Designers-graphic"
and business
"property

the category

of
sub-sector
listed in

services"

Sydney Yellow Pages reveals a dramatic increase of the


numbers of firms: from 498 firms in 1991 to 1,138
firms in 2001. Even if this listing does not give any
about

doubt

that

designers

an
play
Australia's

growth.
"cultural

the businesses'

creative

and

business

role
important
second
booming

recreational

sizes,

services

there

graphic
for the sector's
entire

services",

sector,
grew

the sector
by 60.5

Avera9e
emP*
>yment
change
Mining
11Water
L^L^L^^^^HI^H^^2^2^^_Electricity,
Gas
Supply
HH^^^H^^^^^^^^H^

Admin.
& Defence
Government

I^^^^^^H

Wholesale

Trade

Manufactur
ng
_ Sydney
J^JJ
andStora
ge

Transport

Finance
and InsuranceJHHHI
& Fishng
Agriculture,
Forestry

Australia

g||g

^H^^H

Educaton
H^HHHHHHL

PersoialandOtherServices

^^HHHBj^^Hn

Trade
HHH^HBBj^^

Healthard Community
Services
^^^H^^^^^i
on
Construct
^^^hhmhmmhb^^h
Cafes& Restaursits
Accommodation,
hH^HBIH^^^P
Communication Services

andRecreational
Services
Cultural
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

es
Servfa
Business
j
_Propertyand
""^^^^^^^^^^j^^^^^^^^j^^^^^^jjj
-25 -65-45

2: Employment

change

by author

-5

by industry
from ABS

1991-2001

15

35 55
75%

Wandel

der Beschaftigungsstruktur

2001

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is little

as

such

Employment change by industry1991-2001

Source: Adapted

"cul

all "property

census data (ABS 2001) reveal that Syd

isAustralia's

information

recognised

with shrink

less

Fig

1980s

as

of the city's economy, comprising 14.5 per cent of the

Sydney (Fig. 1) seems to be well established on the


way to a post-industrial city.Figure 2 shows the changes
in the number of jobs in different industry sectors be
tween the census years 1991 and 2001. An ongoing
economic

services"

sectors

services".

Additional
ney

sectors

the main
growth
and booming

early
tural and recreational

business

3 A glimpseof Sydney'sculturaleconomy

of

of

1990s

and

process

one

and

deter

degree

ance"

conceptu

1991-2001

of
per

152ErdkundeBand 60/2006
cent between 1991 and 2001. Although this sector does
seem

not

to have

significant

num

in absolute

weight

bers of jobs Australia-wide, most of its jobs, 25 per


cent, are located in Sydney. Despite the absence of
more specific data, it can be assumed that Sydney is
Australia's primary city of cultural industry employ
ment (cf.Gibson et al. 2002).
The cultural industries are not just growing in the
number of jobs, the organisation of creative practice
within the cultural industries is undergoing changes as
well.

The

whose

title Australian

business-to-business

is to report

self-conception

about

trend within

creative

Sydney's

a trend from big to small firms (gower


The

wants

market

better

alternatives,

as one

interviewee

stated:

in comfortable

cultural

and

entrepreneur

homely

2002, 2003).
choices

and

"The

big

environments.
his

opening

The allure ofNewtown

The
transformation of Sydney's industrial and
employment structure is reflected by the continuous
formation of a "new middle class"
usually defined

as

employees

share

shops

One

of persons

than

compared

"'
50,0%--?-

^r\;F;
,

1991-2001

white

the metropolitan
58.2 per cent
average,
of the occupational
per cent. Data

to 42.0

collar workers

in hoherwertigen

^tx

" '

Iihimi1 ilyAmu

-?-:

o#%-H???-r???j--????

of high-status,

the

white-collar

"'-

?
"

der Beschaftigten

in high-status,

'-:

10>0%*

Share

employed

occupations2^.

1991-2001,

?f^w*^

3ft0%-^?

3:

in white-collar

occupations rose by 50.2 per cent Sydney wide. Syd


ney's inner city areas3) reveal an even higher growth of
62.0 per cent. In 2001, Sydney's inner city areas had a
significant higher share of high-status, white-collar
workers

on King

working

Figure 3 shows that over the period

60,0%---n-??

Anteil

and

Share of high-status, xylite cottarworkers.


: : ;

70,0%A- :

Fig

passionate,

4.1 The newmiddle class realm

post-production

facility in a "lovely renovated old warehouse"

20,0%-

were

the people

industries:

will continue playing the commodity game, while the


smaller shops will focus on creativity and talent"
(quoted in id. 2002, 37).Most of these "boutiques" are
housed

creative,

itwas a hell of a lot of fun" (id., 42). According to


senior industry figures the decentralization of the cre
ative industrieshas been long overdue and goes hand in
hand with the creation of businesses that have person
ality and a comfortable atmosphere, "but before you
even get that, you have to prove yourself. Again, it
comes back to skill, talent and trust" (id., 37).

ser

Most of these new "bou


greater sense of flexibility.
to
be either owned by well-regarded
tiques" appear
agencies or run by highly experienced creatives who
say theywere unsatisfied by working in larger firms
as they are aiming formore flexibilityand creative
satisfaction

itwas

because

Creative,

creative

vices feeding into advertising and marketing, observed


a remarkable

Street, Newtown, says that this opening reminds him


"of why I got into thisbusiness in the firstplace. Itwas

1301
life*
in Sydney,

its inner city areas

Dienstleistungen

in Sydney,

time

2001
and Newtown
den

1991-2001

innerstadtischen

Gebieten

Source:Adapted by author fromABS 2001


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und Newtown

M.

class

structure

Fasche: Creative people and gentrification: "Sowing the seeds of demise?" 153
-

in Newtown

an

inner

city

suburb

in

the Sydney's innerwest partly belonging to the Local


Government Area ofMarrickville and (former)South
-

Sydney4)

are

the period

inner

reflecting

city

area

over

trends:

the proportion of persons

1991-2001,

and

unique

creative

place,

pot where

melting

acade

mics and the university crowdmingle with families and


gays. As one of them stated: "My siblings,when they
come

stand
the place,
it's too noisy,
they can't
... I
... it's the noise and
it's dirty
love
it
just

here,

it's smelly,

the buzz and the interestand meeting people who are


living really vibrant creative lives and doing things that
are just exciting and keep you on the toes."
The interviewed business owners strongly identify
areas
are areas
a
inner
with
Newtown and itsattitudes: they like the area a lot
Sydney's
city
having
long
for
to
due
their
and
find itan interestingworking place although their
standing reputation
gentrification,
stock
of
former
resi
businesses
don't seem to be really anchored within
physical housing
working-class
in high-status,

employed

white-collar

in

occupations

creased by 39.5 per cent, accounting for a share of


58.7 per cent of total occupations inNewtown in 2001
which additional data reveal (ABS 2001).

such

dences,

as

terrace

row houses

and

as well

as aban

Newtown.

doned warehouses, all dating back to the Industrial


Age. During the 1930s depression these areas gained a
reputation as slum areas. By the late 1960s, early 1970s
large industrial enterprises based in these areas had
closed or moved further afield. The decline of heavy
industries coincided with a rediscovery of the inner city
(SPEARITT 1978). A symbolic turn of sudden apprecia
tion of Australian architectural history and heritage
and a revived interest in Victorian and Federation
housing led to new demand for inner city livingand the
desire
former

in a

to live

or

terrace

cottage

working-class

row house.
presented

Renovating
a different

im

age from buying a home unit or a house in suburbia.


The new residentsmade these terraces into a fashion
symbol of urbane lifestyles,community diversity,archi
tectural

charm

and

historical

significance

and

re

jection of the suburban stereotype (KENDIG 1979).


Since then, the gentrificationprocess has been ongoing.

to the interviewed

According

creatives

Newtown

has

been gentrifiedby slightlydifferentpeople in compari


son to other inner city areas such as
Paddington and
Balmain. People coming to Newtown are definitely
middle class, but they try to be a littlebit unique and
tend to be more alternative by coming out of the
"greenly-leftwing

field". The

interviewed

creatives

all

owners of very small, flexiblyorganized,


graphic design
-

businesses

described

Newtown

as

a vibrant,

lively,

business

defined as persons
classified either as "managers
and administrators",
or "associate
"professionals"
profession
als" adapted
from the official Australian
and New Zealand
defined

Classification
as

the Local

(ANZSIC).
Government

Areas

South Sydney and Woollahra.


Leichardt, Marrickville,
4)
after
this
in
research,
Shortly
2004,
February
were
Sydney and City of Sydney Councils
merged.

is not

in Newtown

doesn't

affect

choice.

locational

factor. Working

ismore a living rather than a business

The

environment

of Newtown

makes

them

feel good and relaxed, it is a comfort zone, they are


happy to be here and therefore they can be creative.
However,

from

working

in Newtown

location

influ

ences people's perception of the business and type of


work that people expect as one explained: "If you are
looking at image, I thinkNewtown tells you that you
might be slightlycheaper and you might be looking at
thingswith a slightlydifferent focus, because of that
greenly-leftwing,and you might be younger, I am not
saying that any of those things is truebut thatmight be
the image."

One

of them described

location,

work

business,

and

of the
things

"One

the relationship between


external

inNewtown

as fol
perception
...
is, that you can

kind of be who you are, they are an extremely tolerant


population, and when new clients and suppliers here,
there is an expectation that everything goes and so
there is a freedom,which is, I guess, part of the habitus
... and
thing
honestly they wouldn't care if they
a
in
pat of dog poo, because that is just what
stepped
is, it's a bit

Newtown

inconvenient."

But despite all emphasis on "being different" in the


end, all interviewed creatives admitted that they do
serious

ous

location,

from a not so seri


design
cre
described
the dilemma:
"Being

to business

business

as one

ative, I think it'sa very ambitious idea ... [but] you still
to meet

the briefs,

still have

to make

communica

tion, check itwith the client,who wants pink and you

2) Here

Industrial

partners

inNewtown

have

Standard
3) Here

located

communication via email and


phone being geographically convenient to clients or

lows:

4.2 The pursuitof beingdifferent

Being

their business. With

hate

of

South

pink,

that's

too bad."

4.3 Eroding charm


All interviewed creatives are aware of
changes in
their environment: things are getting swankier and
flashier and more expensive. As one interviewee put

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154ErdkundeBand 60/2006
it: "I think, it's image or when you sayingNewtown
it's definitely giving you something different of what
it actually is, it does have its funky image but it is
actually not as funky as kind of people think itwould
be, where I think, the image is probably two years
behind."

The interviewees realize demographic changes: most


of the Greek immigrants and Asian people seem to
have left as well as the student population whereas
DINKs ('double income no Aids') and gays have moved
in, although there is stilla reasonable number of fami
lies from thedays when itwas affordable tobuy a house.
According to the interviewees lots of turnovers in
cafes

shops,

and

can

restaurants

be witnessed,

nothing

really stays permanently, there's always something


new. Although branches likeMcDonald's
and Baker's
to
is
Newtown
close
had
down,
getting very
Delight
trendy shops. The retail structure is changing; cheap
restaurants

and

cafes

or

upgrade

are

shops

moving

and more

disappear

clothes shops, boutiques, home ware

shops and shoe

seems

in. Newtown

to become

get-up-early,
a-cafe
type of

and

go-for-your-jog
suburb.

read-the-paper-in

Furthermore there is a lotof building and rebuilding

in Newtown.

Old

buildings

are

torn down

or

get

reno

vated, new buildings are going up, old warehouses are


converted into apartment buildings, and the gardens
get designed. Last but not least rents and property
prices are climbing as one interviewee described: "The
house prices have been astronomical, something you
might have bought forA$ 50.000 in 1980, you would
now pay A$ 600.000 or more, in the same condition,
you

know,

mainstream

in a way

... and

the artists,

I guess,

the base creatives, I think,will definitely start tomove


out

into

cheaper

areas

...

it's kind

of hard,

because

am part of that gentrifying set, I don't deny that and I


don't like it in some regards, but Imoved here because
I liked Newtown because it's so interesting and you
can't really expect other people not to do the same, and

of

the way

things."

4.4 Saving the


Newtownness?
in Newtown

People
ment

councils

aware

are

and responsible local govern


of

the erosion

of Newtown's

charm. They are alarmed thatNewtown might lose its


the theatres,gallery owners and artists, in
key agents
other words, itsbase of any marketing campaign. All
-

venues

the Newtown

spaces

performance

and
live
theatres
independent
there for a long time
have been

struggling on their own. The Newtown Entertainment


PrecinctProject,an initiative of Marrickville Council in
partnership with theNewtown Entertainment Precinct
Association, launched in 2003, aims to preserve the
arty,differentfeeling of the area. The Newtown Enter
tainment Precinct Association itself is an initiativeby
theatres

to work

to promote

together

as

Newtown

an entertainment precinct. Part of the project is the


support of artists, art workers and performers to live
and work in the area and the enhancement of business
opportunities for local retailers. Further subprojects
a

include

on'

'what's

monthly

an

to Newtown,

guide

information and booking kiosk, an arts employment


programme in partnership with Newtown performing
Arts High School, an arts market, public art etc.
According to a representative ofMarrickville Council
the overall intention is tomaintain the venues that are
already there and to increase theirvalue by strengthen
ing Newtown's

profile

as an

alternative

entertainment

sense of theword.
precinct to the city in the truest
The project is supported by local retailers as well as
state and
Whereas
its distinct

unrenovated."

Due to rising rentsbusiness owners are strugglingfor


- the same factors
theirbusinesses
apply forall business
was
What
types.
initially quaint becomes more and
more upmarket. Newtown might be on the way to
become 'yuppiedom' (FASCHE 2004). According to the
interviewees Newtown is loosing its funkiness; it has
become less shabby, less interesting as one stated:
"Newtown is no longer challenging ... you know, ithas
become

that's

guess

local

destination shopping centre,where itused to serve the


local area. With 'older people' living inNewtown, the
loss of cheap restaurants and pubs and all the shops
which are closed at night Newtown's time schedule is
changing: from a late-night, early-morning suburb to
a

it's a bit of a shame when you've seen all little restau


rants leave, and the sortof pawn shops leave, thatkind
of made it,kind of made it exciting in the firstplace, I

national

governments.
character
to be seen if Newtown's
can be saved and
preserved,
atmosphere
it has

itsphysical heart
Street

King Street

isNewtown's

aorta,

definitelywill. King

thoroughfare

stretching

for

about two kilometres fromBroadway and Sydney Uni


versity at itsnorthern to St Peters at its southern end.
King Street houses almost all of Newtown's theatres,
performance

spaces,

hotels,

cafes,

restaurants,

shops

etc. - going to Newtown means frequenting King


Street. The street is listed on theRegister of National
Estate due to its relatively unspoiled 19thcentury two
and three storeyVictorian and Federation-style com
mercial buildings with continuing awnings and a regu
lar rhythmof retail frontagewidth lining both side of
& EnmoreRoad Heritage
the curving ridge.The King Street
Plan launched by
Control
and Urban Design Development
in August
South
Councils
and
Marrickville
Sydney

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Fasche: Creative people and gentrification: "Sowing the seeds of demise?" 155

M.

2002, aims to preserve and enhance thisplay of unity


and diversity that gives the streetscape itsunique and
very

attractive

visual

quality.

5 Conclusion

difference and distinction is not without contradiction


as the concern with culturemerely opens new fields of
consumption which exposed to forces of capital slowly
but surelycommodities the object of theirdesire. Places
that are initiallydifferent, inconvenient and affordable
more

become
affordable.

This study is embedded within the context of eco


nomic shiftstowards a service economy inwhich cul
tural industriesare playing a significantrole by indicat
a process
between
interconnectedness
of growing
ing
in
cultural
Moreover
and cultural
economic
spheres.
as
are
economic
of
dustries
progress
dynamos
regarded

within the new service economy. A large proportion of


the cultural industries is made of micro and small
enterprises imagined to be themajor driver for innova
small
tion and creativity within the sector. These
creative
lished

to be

tend

businesses

centres

business

located

away

to areas

close

from

known

for

estab
their

cultural amenities and distinctive lifestyles.The Aus


tralian cultural economy reflects the shift towards
serviceswithin its entire and even more clearlywithin
Recent

economy.

Sydney's

of an Australian
reports
a trend within
Sydney's

title reveal

business-to-business

cultural industries: a trend frombig to small businesses.


These small creative businesses are mostly located in
comfortable and homely environments in Sydney's
inner

areas.

city

Empirical evidence fromNewtown, one of Sydney's


inner city areas, shows that creative people running
theirbusinesses here highly identifywith the area and
its attitudes.

They

perceive

as an alternative,

Newtown

lively and creative place, a place that tends to be


unique. Being located inNewtown was a living rather
than a business choice. Nevertheless being located in
Newtown

makes

a statement

their business

about

prac

tice. Even if thismight be a huge generalisation, cre


ative

construct,

people

and

perceive

represent

them

selves as trendyby doing a trendyjob, driving a trendy


and by being in a
car, having trendy clothes, etc.
trendyplace. In doing so,working and living spheres
blur as they are linking their habitus in theirwork.
However

their

"being

creative"

client's

briefs.

strong
may

on

emphasis
be debunked

artistic
more

on

practice,
as "cultural

dreaming" because in the end they stillhave tomeet the

convenient

less distinctive

and

are very much

aware

but

in Newtown

People

less
of

these types of changes within their own neighbour


hood.

to preserve

aim

initiatives

Local

the Newtown

ness, its arty feeling and itskey agents. In competition


with other places within Sydney, they promote New
as an

town
ness

the other

while

alternative

place. However,
and
institutionalized

becomes

into

transformed

economic value, this "being different" slowly erodes. It


has to be seen whether the creative people and their
venues will staywithin Newtown and whether New
town's

allure

can

be

or whether

preserved

Newtown

will just keep its image of being differentwhile be


a

coming

"hippy

comedy".

In

Places

are more

and

the

latter

creative

case,

people would have sowed the seeds of theirown demise


and Newtown would have lost thebase of itsmarketing
campaign. In the end it is about constructing and pro
moting a place by claiming itsdistinctive and authentic
character.

more

in

competition

with other places within the same city and to places in


other cities. In this sense the locality becomes impor
tant; a localitywith specific attributesurban politics can
build on tomarket thisplace
sometimes itmight be
just the image that is leftwhereas the creatives have
moved furtherafield.
Sydney's inner city area Newtown exemplifies a
process which can be observed in prior post-industrial
cities

such

Paris

etc.:

as New

York,

leading-edge

London,

Vancouver,

economic

sectors

Toronto,
as cul

such

tural industries provide the dynamic for inner urban


in other

transformations,

tional growth has become


spatial

changes

across

words,

occupa

high-status

increasingly linked to socio

cities.

Insofar

gentrification

is a

spatial articulation of a more complex process linked to


profound

transformations

in capitalist

societies

the re

structured industrial base with the associated rise of a

new middles

class.

However,

the

signs

and

trajectories

of gentrification are to a large degree determined by its


local context. In this perspective BoURDIEU's habitus
concept appears to be highly applicable as itconceptu
alizes the relationship between individual and society as

as process
structure
The same creative people are described as the pre
between
and agency
and
mutual,
cursors of the new middle class whose rise is associated
between standardization and change as dialectical. The
habitus of people - their lifestylesand their representa
with the shift to a post-industrial economy. Creative
people are not only predisposing and defining lifestyles tions structurestheirenvironment through the sum of
and identities theyare also transforming these lifestyles individual habits and activities. In turn, the habitus
and identities into spatial practice
all underlying a
itself is under ongoing negotiation as itgets structured
claim of authenticity and distinction. But thepursuit of by its surrounding contexts. The same applies to the

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156ErdkundeBand 60/2006
habitus of places. Finally, all thehabitus are embedded
not only in local but also in regional, national and
global

P. a. Freestone,
C.; Murphy,
and Socio-Spatial
Relations

Gibson,
ment

Autumn,

Editorial.

(2003):

I.

helbrecht,

Acknowledgements
I would like to thank Eckart Ehlers for comments
and suggestions on an earlier draft of thispaper. Em
pirically, thispaper isbased on a field studyundertaken
in the context of a diploma thesis in Sydney inWinter
2003/04. My special thanks to four graphic designers
area

in the Newtown
businesses
owning
sentatives
of respective
local government

and

two repre

councils

who

contributed to this study through the interviews they


gave. This studywas funded by theGerman Academic
Exchange Service whose support isgratefullyacknowl
edged.

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From Detroit

to