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.
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.