Creating Cities – a small book about big ideas for local places

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Published:  July 8, 2013
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Creating Cities – a small book about big ideas for local places

Marcus Westbury has just announced his first book, titled Creating Cities, and he needs your help to fund it!

Creating Cities is a small book about big ideas for local places. Creating Cities argues that technology, creativity and the initiative of local communities themselves are profoundly changing the possibilities of local places. We are in the middle of a profound transformation. Creativity is decentralising and proliferating while traditional retail and the places that once accommodated it are in a spiral of decline. Local communities are making more and buying less and this has profound implications for the cities that we build and the communities that we live in.

Creating Cities explores how low barriers to entry online have made it easier to make, share and distribute (think Etsy, I-Tunes, 3D printing, Amazon and E-Books) but our physical communities have higher barriers to entry than ever. We need to shift our thinking about what places are, how they work, and how we engage and imagine them. We need to look not just the hardware of our physical spaces but the software of how our cities behave to make it easier for people with creativity and imagination (but not capital) to do stuff. Initiative and imagination are as important as infrastructure but it’s rarely a major part of how we make places.

Marcus Westbury established Renew Newcastle in 2008 as a not for profit, low budget DIY urban renewal scheme in his home town of Newcastle, Australia. Newcastle an ex-steelworking city with more than a hundred empty and derelict buildings in the city centre. Four years later, through some smart hacks of the legal system and simple, cheap, and imaginative strategies that tapped the imagination and enthusiasm of artists, makers, entrepreneurs and doers Renew Newcastle has launched more than 120 projects in more than 50 once empty buildings. In 2011, as a direct result, Lonely Planet declared the city one of the top 10 cities to visit in the world.

 

Creating Cities as a book weaves together the lessons of these actual transformation, the ideas and observations that led to it and makes compelling case that makers and doers make places and need places (and place leaders) that respond to their needs. The shift from mass culture to maker-culture means that city builders and civic leaders need to re-imagine the new possibilities of places.

At the time of publishing this article, not only had the campaign reached its first funding goal in less than 24 hours, it also set a new Pozible record – the most individual contributors in the first 24 hours of any project to date.

You can of course still back the project. By doing so you will not only help Marcus with the writing and research, but also the design, illustration, typesetting, editing, as well as other costs involved with producing a high quality publication. As with all Pozible campaigns, you’ll claim some fantastic rewards in the process from personalised copies of the books to the chance to have Marcus present a talk at your next event.

Visit the Creating Cities Pozible page here.

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