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An emerging era

You wouldn’t think that a story about property development would necessarily make the cut in a magazine all about ideas and creativity.

Actually, you’d be wrong. The Britomart development down on the water’s edge in Auckland’s CBD is a terrific example of the new kind of thinking that is taking shape in New Zealand business. Heck, even property developers are thinking creatively these days.

Peter Cooper photograph by Adam Custins
Peter Cooper

Here’s the idea: don’t just build a bunch of buildings for quick flick and short-term profit, like the majority of developers have done. Britomart developer Peter Cooper is in for the long haul—ten years at least, with a 100-year lease—and is premising the whole development on the idea of a creative hub. That is, build funky, people-friendly places where arts, culture and creativity can flourish alongside industry. Cooper, a Kiwi who lives in LA, reckons there’s a cultural renaissance happening in New Zealand. He’s convinced that our unique combination of European-Pacific-Asian population is forming a new society.

When I first met Cooper and his team I was a little sceptical. He is, after all, a button lawyer with a strong background in 80s property development.

But that’s the exciting part. If creativity, culture and business are intersecting in such a way that even sharp-eyed businessmen like Cooper can see an opportunity, it really means we are entering a creativity economy.

Expect to see more of the same, not just in property but in every sector. Creativity, originality, authenticity—these are the watch-words for an emerging era.