No suits allowed: in what ways does the creativising of central Auckland reveal the workings of Bormann’s (1973) shared fantasy themes?
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Against the backdrop of the failing extractive era, global economies are given a salvation: creativity. The concepts of the creative economy, the creative class who produce the creative economy, and the creative city that houses the creative class, are the three factors a buoyant contemporary economy must have in order to be based on the knowledge, ideas and technological output of people. The rejuvenation of certain areas of central Auckland, New Zealand, exhibit telltale signs of following the ideas laid out by scholars who introduced the creative city concept. (Florida, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009; Landry, 2000). Because of my familiarity with these works, and because I am in Auckland city every day, I often wondered about a link between what I was witnessing happening to my city, the concept of the creative city, and the globally growing desire for a creative economy. This thesis is my amalgamation and analysis of these subjects. Vital to the success of the creative city are creative people being creative. Their creative output represents the commercial productivity on which the creative economy is based. In order to grow, a creative city needs to attract and retain creative people. A handful of cities around the world possess the creative tools that make them organically creative, for example San Francisco and Paris (Florida, 2002). Other cities, such as Auckland, must become creative inorganically, through policy intervention. As a part of this intervention process, there are numerous elements that must be included in research such as community, space, place, time, creative infrastructure, and commercial viability. In order to establish whether there was a link between the theories of the creative city and the city of Auckland I used Bormann’s (1972) symbolic convergence theory to chain the key concepts of the creative city to ideas identified in Auckland City Council documents that promoted policies of working towards a shared rhetorical vision of Auckland having an economy that is based on creativity. The three key reports I focused on were Starkwhite (2002), Snapshot (2005) and Blueprint (2007). Four areas of central Auckland were identified as precincts targeted to become manufactured creative areas. Fantasy theme analysis allowed me to link successfully the concepts laid out in Landry (2002) and Florida’s (2003) introductory ideas to aspects of the Starkwhite, Snapshot and Blueprint reports, and then to link them again to the real life examples of development in Auckland city today.