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Mosquitoes in the mix: How transferable is creative city thinking?

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This paper contributes to recent debates about whether urban policy discourses are transferable and what is at stake in their translation. It draws on discussion of Darwin (Northwest Territory, Australia), a tropical savanna location that the local government wants to promote as a ‘creative city’, without quite knowing what this might require. We discuss relevant debates on research knowledge construction, the creative city and the path-dependent character of neoliberal governmental objectives. We then turn to the geographical, demographic and cultural characteristics that make Darwin a challenging and distinct context for translation of global theories of creative city rejuvenation. As well as arguing a case for more nuanced, locationally specific, analysis of the capacity of places to embrace travelling policy discourses, we suggest ways in which creative city research can be refreshed through engaging with literatures on (post)colonial urban politics and intersections with policy initiatives other than those targeted at ‘creative industries’per se. We systematically outline the particular challenges that tropical cities in remote locations provide to accepted wisdom about creativity-led urban planning.
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Keywords: Darwin; creative city; indigenous/Aboriginal peoples; neoliberalism; population churn; postcolonial

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Communication, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia 2: GeoQuest Research Centre, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia 3: School of Policy Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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