You may scoff at their tight jeans and waistcoats, waxed beards and analysis of craft beers and coffees, but hipsters could help trigger regeneration in Irish cities.
And Cork could become the hipster capital of Ireland if it embraces the ideas of one of America’s leading experts in urbanism.
Christoph Lindner, the Dean of the College of Design, and director of the Slow Lab, at the University of Oregon on the US west coast, is set to deliver the first in a series of talks next week designed to encourage Cork to consider its future.
Mr Lindner is an urban and cultural theorist whose work spans the fields of visual culture, architecture, media arts, geography and urban planning and design.
He has studied the creative urban and cultural development of some of the worlds great capitals, including New York, Paris and Amsterdam.
At the first ‘Cork Conversations: Planning for the Future’ talks next week, he will compare the hipster utopias of Amsterdam and Portland, Oregon, and outline their “long history of art-led regeneration” and how both cities embraced ‘hipsterfication’ — hipster-led gentrification. And he will suggest that midsize Irish cities can accelerate their regeneration by fostering hipster culture, creativity, and arts.
Mary McCarthy, of the National Sculpture Factory, who is organising the talks in association with Cork City Council, said she hopes they will open a debate on how Cork could and should develop as it embarks on a new phase of urban development.
While hipsters have often been defined as brewers, barbers and barristas, Ms McCarthy said it is more of a mindset.
“For me, they are people who have their own set of values, reject the mainstream and take control over their identity and economy,” she said.
“They are independent minded, and often entrepreneurs. They drive economies and are influencers. They are clued in and should never be underestimated. The add value, and should be enabled and supported.”
She said the conversation will also include artists and the cultural sector, and how all can be accommodated as the city of the future.
Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald said he hopes the talks will inspire a conversation on the kind of city we want.
Council chief executive Ann Doherty said the time was right for the city to consider its future as it prepares for a significant expansion of its boundary.
“It is a time for starting a conversation about designing a sustainable, resilient city centred around the future needs of citizens and the business community” she said.
The talks series will lead into the city’s hosting of the Congress of the Academy of Urbanism from June 27 to 30, which will be attended by hundreds of experts on city and urban development from around the world.
‘Cork Conversations: Planning for the Future’ is being organised by the National Sculpture Factory and Cork City Council.
The first talk in the series takes place at St Peter’s on North Main St next Wednesday at 6.30pm. It is free and open to the public.
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