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The Pink Palace, policy and power: Home-making practices and gentrification in Northcote

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Abstract:

Cultural practices constitute cultural spaces, which include, or exclude, specific identities. This article examines a set of particular 'home-making' cultural practices surrounding gentrification in Northcote, Melbourne. I use the notion of home making to understand the implications of gentrification on a particular site, the Pink Palace. The Pink Palace was a former warehouse, located on Eastment Street, Northcote, which operated as a home, a punk music venue and a space for radical political activism between 1998 and 2005. It was closed in 2005 when the lease was not renewed. Through ethnographic interviews I conducted with people involved at the Pink Palace, I understand the punk subcultural activities practised as instances of home making which attempted to fix a meaning for the Pink Palace and its surrounds. I posit this articulation of home making against the home-making practices of Darebin City Council, which attempted to re-signify Eastment Street as a 'creative community' through cultural planning. An analysis of Darebin City Council's policies shows how such policy constructs the Pink Palace and its nearby area as the home space of a creative-consumer identity. The creative consumer is a gentrifying identity whose home-making practices enacted the creative community imperatives laid out by Darebin City Council. The home-making practices of the gentrifying creative consumer worked to over-determine the punk home space constituted through the (sub)cultural practices of the Pink Palace residents. The punk significance of Eastment Street was invisibilized as the practices of home making by gentrifiers gained ascendance. With the gentrification of the space, the Pink Palace residents no longer felt 'at home' in Eastment Street. They were excluded from their former home space and the Pink Palace closed.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10304310903056328

Affiliations: School of Culture and Communications, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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