Community and nostalgia in urban revitalisation: a critique of urban village and creative class strategies as remedies for social 'problems'
We examine how normative constructions of ‘the creative city’ have entered into Australian planning discourses. Although welcoming a place-based approach, critical consideration is given to how the misappropriation of ‘place making’ in creative city revitalisation plans may enhance rather than address processes of social marginalisation. A Foucauldian framework is employed, exploring the notion of the social production of power through discourse. We draw on a case study of Wentworth Street, a key urban space in Port Kembla, the industrialised district of Wollongong, New South Wales. The study focuses on various ideas of a common place-making theme of the ‘urban village’ evoked by planners, the media and a targeted local resident group (here elderly Macedonians) for a street positioned in ‘crisis’ because of declining infrastructure, services and its association with crime, drugs and prostitution. The case study demonstrates that marginalisation and exclusions are products of creative city strategies and wider, more oppressive urban discourses. But we also demonstrate that despite becoming normative in the texts of planning policies, discourses of place and identity always remain multiple, negotiated, and contradictory.