Findings from New Zealand’s Urban Dream Brokerage
journal contributionposted on 23.09.2020, 10:00 by Sophia Jerram
Between 2013–2018, the Urban Dream Brokerage ran as an urban revitalisation platform, commissioned by four distinct New Zealand municipalities. The model: during a period of economic recession and commercial vacancy, proposals from artists and non-profit communities were placed into urban retail sites, dependent on a broker’s negotiation. Following the closure of the Brokerage, a research colloquium was held with creative practitioners, or ‘project creators’ to understand the affective shifts that took place for their practice within the urban context. As a founder and former broker researching the practices of spatial urban occupation, I discerned four common narratives which spoke to the entwinement of people and space. These were: the presence of hostile conditions for the creation of community; the opportunity for experimentation within vacancy; the cloaking of political action through art, and the observation that the revival of ‘dead’ spaces created some longer-term value for the city —value that was not transferred to the project creators. This article offers an empirically based portrait of the Brokerage platform through assembled voices of the project creators.