- Styling the City: The municipality, fashion and identity in Dunedin, New Zealand    click here to open paper content171 kb
by    Thompson-Fawcett, Michelle | mtf@geography.otago.ac.nz   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Dunedin City waned economically in the late 20th century. To revitalise urban, economic and social development, the municipality has embarked on a vigorous place-identity exercise, celebrating captivating elements that might prompt urban regeneration.
Massey (2006) suggests that we need to ‘rethink the notion of identity of place’ now. In a contemporary urban setting, an identity of place should not rely on a romantic, somehow inherent, understanding of a place, but should acknowledge the meeting place that a city now provides, a dynamic yet distinctive mix of different stories, histories, cultures, networks - not seamless, not coherent, not singular (Massey 1994). So, rather than promoting the place as a static, bounded ‘product’, policy makers might focus on weaving together the richness of multiple identities derived from layers of history; emerging cultural diversity, local and global connectivity, differentiation and innovation - consequently avoiding the homogenisation evident in past efforts at urban entrepreneurialism. The city of Dunedin in New Zealand has moved in this direction via its I am Dunedin urban regeneration campaign, where interpretations are unlimited, versatile and can personify the many dynamic faces of Dunedin, for example, I am Fashion Dunedin (showcasing the local creativity), I am Learning Dunedin (reflecting the city’s ‘excellence’ in education), I am Alive Dunedin (highlighting the vibrant nightlife and café scene), I am Wild Dunedin (alluding to the city’s unique proximity to abundant wildlife and wilderness), and many more (Hooker 2007).

The qualitative research reported in the paper explored the advantages being sought by the Dunedin local authority in its re-imaging efforts for the purpose of urban regeneration, and also the outcomes on the ground and implications for the local communities of that endeavour.
place-identity, urban regeneration, contextual visioning, metaphors and concepts
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