Marcus Westbury | Founding Director of Renew Newcastle
The industrial city of Newcastle has long suffered over recent decades, experiencing the devastation of an earthquake and effects of recession and retraction of the steel industry, and the vacuous effect of suburban retail cores subtracting commerce from the city centre.
Physically the city was, and still is in need of urban renewal with many a dilapidated building, vacant tenancies and infrastructure issues to boot.
Marcus Westbury founded Renew Newcastle 4 years ago on the premise that Newcastle required a cultural shift as well. Renew successfully cleverly hops skips and jumps monetary, urban planning, and the facilitation of other red tape to allow small scale creative (mostly temporary) interventions within the city centre. Basically overlooking physical factors and focusing on cultural factors to rejuvenate the city.
Harnessing this cultural capital (soft power) or software as coined by Westbury, the Renew initiative garners the fruition of grassroot creative enterprise, exhibitions and the like; resulting in a resurgence of activity without being caught up in pragmatics.
Westbury’s TEDxNewy talk does not present a silver bullet, but reveals small steps can slowly number to great lengths in facilitating urban renewal.
For more information | Renew Newcastle | Lonely Planet Top Ten Cities 2011 - Newcastle