Global space or local place? The Port Adelaide waterfront redevelopment and entrepreneurial urban governance
ABSTRACT: The impending waterfront redevelopment of Port Adelaide is a local manifestation of a global phenomenon. Through a carefully managed place marketing process, the Port’s industrial landscape is to be reconceptualized as a future landscape of cosmopolitan consumption and professional occupancy. This involves a significant transformation not only of the built environment but also the discursive identity of that waterfront landscape. Emphasising landscapes of consumption rather than production, the redevelopment of Port Adelaide is reflective of global trends in urban governance. These trends are entrenched in a distinctive form of entrepreneurial endeavour emphasising new post-industrial forms of capital accumulation. This paper critiques the proposed Port Adelaide waterfront redevelopment as an uncritical local manifestation of a global phenomenon. In doing so, we examine the current urban governance trend to engage in public/private collaborations through which to stimulate reinvestment in ‘derelict’ industrial landscapes. This examination raises significant questions concerning the suitability and sustainability of internationally sourced redevelopment strategies in local contexts. While waterfront redevelopments are considered to be highly desirable and contributing to the re-imaging of places as globally dynamic, we argue that the specificities of the local should not be supplanted by those of the global.