GPS study reveals Sydney’s hot spot of creativity

GPS study reveals Sydney’s hot spot of creativity


Australia: Surry Hills is to Sydney’s artists what Mecca is to the world’s Muslims: all must pass through it at some point. This is the preliminary finding of a study that tagged a group of designers with satellite technology and tracked their movements around Sydney, in an attempt to find out where the people who fuel Sydney’s creative economy live, work and play.

Fifteen designers wore small GPS tracking devices, similar to the ones used in cars, for several days, which recorded their location every five seconds. Prof. Chris Gibson, head of the study, Wollongong University, said, “The results suggest that state and local governments may need to rethink where public galleries, artists’ studios and other pieces of creative infrastructure are located in the future. The story that we are getting is that there is a more complex geography to their activities than you might expect.”

”It tells different councils that they are part of the creative economy … incubating the creative industry should not just be left to the City of Sydney or Marrickville Council.”

Designer Simeon King was one of the participants in the study. He said, ”You need to move some of the critical cultural infrastructure out there. Otherwise there is always going to be this magnetism towards the inner city.”

According to urban planner Rod Simpson, former industrial areas such as Surry Hills and Newtown were once natural homes for the creative industries because of their mix of cheap, dense housing, small warehouses and bustling, cosmopolitan main streets. 

The findings of the pilot study, called Catch and Release, were presented as part of the Creative Sydney programme at the Vivid festival. The Catch and Release project will tag the movements of several other creative industries in the coming months.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald