Living for the City: Marcus Westbury
Where do we want to live? Who else do we want to live there? And what makes a city more than just habitable – but also exhilarating and inspiring – for its citizens? In conversation with architect Stuart Harrison, Marcus Westbury shares his ideas on renewal, regeneration and the potential of our great city.
Westbury has some answers to these questions. He’s the man behind Renew Newcastle, the urban renewal project that saw Westbury transform his lagging NSW hometown into a hive of creativity and enterprise in a few short years. Now he’s CEO of the Collingwood Arts Precinct redevelopment, an undertaking designed to bolster the inner-city presence of small arts organisations, in an era when rising rents are driving creative people out of the areas they helped make great in the first place.
Bureaucracy, over-regulation, gentrification and good old-fashioned failures of imagination – these are among the factors that can stem the vitality of urban spaces. Just because we’ve always done things one way doesn’t mean we have to keep doing them that way.
Marcus Westbury is the inaugural CEO of Contemporary Arts Precincts Ltd that is leading the development of the Collingwood Arts Precinct in Melbourne. He is also the founder of the multi award-winning Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia projects that have reopened more than a hundred vacant properties to creative and community uses across Australia.
Stuart Harrison is a practicing architect, lecturer, broadcaster and architectural advocate.