Sustainable City Identity – Cultural cocreation




Buttriss, Gary
Nailer, Christopher

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NJ University


The City of Canberra, Australia, as part of its claim to be one of the most livable cities in Australia, is pursuing becoming a sustainable city. Through various policies such as 100% renewables by 2020, citizen democracy, installation of advanced waste management technology and practices, redevelopment of the built environment to meet the challenges of climate change, the government not only seeks to reduce its ecological footprint and meet international targets but also to shift community world-view from viewing sustainability as simply reducing negative impacts towards a net-positive paradigm. Cultural value has come to be recognized as an important fourth dimension of sustainability. Not only does it help shape society it also has the potential to bring about change in attitudes and self-identity necessary for ecological modernization and a move to sustainable development. Systematically integrating cultural and creative or arts community in the conception, practice and policy of development potentially helps ensure the broad and diverse involvement of the local social capital and greatly increases achieving desirable outcome of development efforts and achieving the shift in the community world-view. The cultural ecosystems of Canberra consists of complex and multi-layered formal and informal networks made up of creative individuals, community groups, indigenous organizations and cultural institutions such as nationally funded professional theatres, orchestras, and collecting institutions, as well as commercial enterprises providing inputs, support, and distribution services; along with patrons, donors and investors, and an array of public entities charged with facilitating, funding and hosting arts and creative activities. This research seeks to understand the process of Canberra becoming a sustainable city, and how it emerges in part through the interactions engaged in by these actors in multiple networks, and individuate the mechanisms that drive this process of defining, developing, enacting and communicating a sustainable Canberra. The co-evolutionary process will involve a balancing act preserving both the tangible and intangible cultural elements while incorporating the world-views of multiple local and national stakeholders. It will also need to balance preservation of its heritage as a planned city from the modern age, maintain its iconic position as both the ‘national capital’ and ‘bush capital’ against its economic and population growth and pursuit of innovation hub focused on renewable energy. Successfully balancing these competing forces has the potential to promote economic, environmental and social sustainability. Tourism, cultural and creative industries, and heritage-based development are powerful economic drivers that generate employment, stimulate local development, and foster creativity. Local and indigenous knowledge and environmental management practices provide valuable insight and tools for tackling ecological challenges, mitigating the effects of climate change, and preventing biodiversity loss. Interaction within and between social nets promotes dialogue and tolerance that facilitate mutual understanding and the building of bridges among the community, between stakeholder groups and with policy makers, all of which are prerequisites for sustainable development.





The role of cultural networks in co-creating a sustainable city; Canberra


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