Renew Newcastle

The evidence for the success of the Renew Newcastle scheme can be seen in the press coverage. The local paper, The Newcastle Herald has described Renew Newcastle simply as “the miracle on Hunter Street“, the transformation of the dead centre of town as “nothing short of outstanding“, and as Newcastle’s biggest news story of 2009, “AFTER years of depression and desperation about Newcastle’s decay, … Young and creative people have helped make the Renew Newcastle project the signature move to get the city thinking positive again.” ABC TV said simply that Renew Newcastle had “recycled, reinvigorated, revived, revitalised, recreated and reimagined the city.

When in November 2010 the travel bible Lonely Planet declared Newcastle, Australia one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2011 – the first Australian city ever to make the list – they specifically cited the “dozens of disused city-centre buildings occupied by photographers, fashion designers, digital artists and more as part of the inner-city regeneration scheme, Renew Newcastle” as a major factor. Renew Newcastle and its partner the GPT group received Australia’s leading award for partnerships between business and the arts the AbaF Partnership of the Year award.

Even beyond Australia the “Renew” model has attracted significant attention and interest.  Writer, designer, Monocle magazine co-founder and urbanist Dan Hill wrote in City of Sound, “I can think of few more positive examples of how to quickly make a genuine difference in cities I.e. not just at the surface layers of urban design, as important as that is, or festivals, or marketing, but at the very core of economic, cultural and social sustainability, with all the ensuring knock-on effects for repairing urban fabric and civic confidence… to have addressed this aspect directly, with literally no funding, is thoroughly inspirational.”

Justin Fox, editorial director of the Harvard Business Review Group and formerly Economics editor of Time magazine described the Renew Newcastle model as a “clever partial solution” for the failures of dysfunctional commercial real estate markets while Felix Salmon, chief economics correspondent for Reuters – also reflecting on the failure of commercial real estate markets described the Renew Newcastle model as “the obvious solution to this problem… good for the neighborhood…  so everybody wins.” Bruce Sterling of described said of Renew Newcastle simply “there is genius in this.

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