Currently viewing the category: "Media"

A few years ago, Marcus Westbury was depressed by the number of empty buildings he saw in his hometown of Newcastle. So he decided to do something about it.

“I’m genuinely surprised how it’s taken off . My credit card paid all the bills for the fi rst six months of the project. It was my hobby that just got out of control.”

Jetstar Magazine, February 2012

 

“I need some Newcastle in my neighbourhood.

Newcastle is an Australian steel town an hour and a half north of Sydney. Last year, Lonely Planet named it one of the Top 10 cities to visit in the world, along with New York and Delhi, citing its great cafes, artist culture and surf.

What makes that amazing is that three years ago Newcastle was a ghost town. Or at least its downtown was, with 150 boarded-up buildings dotting its two main drags. You went there to get mugged.”

- The Toronto Star, Toronto Canada January 20th 2012

 

“ONCE the heart of Sydney’s gay, alternative scene where locals mingled with drag queens and sculptors, Oxford Street in Darlinghurst has devolved over the past 20 years into a seedy mix of late-night pizza joints, darkened clubs and booze-fuelled bashings.

A sprinkling of small bars, bookshops and cinemas have strived to keep the bohemian dream alive and, from this week, 15 creative enterprises will join them to entice culture-seekers and shoppers back to the strip. …

The initiative draws inspiration from similar projects, such as the landmark Renew Newcastle project, in which artists and cultural groups moved in to reverse that city’s urban decay.”

- The Sydney Morning Herald January 9, 2012

 

“In the UK we recently saw empty commercial properties offered to charities for free while permanent tenants are found. Similarly, an Australian social enterprise — Renew Australia — is connecting artists and community projects with workspaces in vacant city-centre buildings until they are needed again for commercial use… the Renew Newcastle programme successfully found creative individuals willing to be temporary tenants, who cleaned-up buildings and revitalised the area. Now the program has been rolled-out nationally.”

springwise.com, 26 December 2011

 

“The flourishing cultural space has also created a microcosm of artisans and community groups who have taken on the role of ambassadors, teaming up to promote Newcastle to outsiders and those who may not have visited the city centre for some time.”

Newcastle Herald, 17 December 2011

 

“A unique scheme to revitalise the NSW city of Newcastle by turning buildings that are vacant, disused or pending development into creative showcases has prompted international interest and resulted in similar schemes in other states. So much interest has been generated in Renew Newcastle that founder, Marcus Westbury has created Renew Australia a new national social enterprise designed to catalyse community renewal, economic development and the arts and creative industries across the country.

“Renew Newcastle solves a very specific problem that has plagued the city for over a decade. While the long-term prospects for redevelopment of Newcastle’s CBD are good, in the meantime many sites are boarded up, falling apart, vandalised or decaying because there is no short-term plan for their use and no one taking responsibility for them. RN cleans up these buildings and gets the city active and used again.”

The Fifth Estate, 5 December 2011

 

“If you haven’t been to Newcastle for a while, you’ve been missing out. Named by Lonely Planet as Australia’s most underrated city earlier this year, there’s plenty happening with swish new restaurants, quirky boutique shopping – especially if you like designer and vintage wear – and an exploding creative arts scene, thanks to the Renew Newcastle program that allows artists and emerging designers to set up galleries and pop-up shops in empty buildings across the city.”

Stuff.co.nz, 29 November 2011.

 

“If you haven’t been to Newcastle for a while, you’ve been missing out. Named by Lonely Planet as Australia’s most underrated city earlier this year, there’s plenty happening with swish new restaurants, quirky boutique shopping – especially if you like designer and vintage wear – and an exploding creative arts scene, thanks to the Renew Newcastle program that allows artists and emerging designers to set up galleries and pop-up shops in empty buildings across the city.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 November 2011

 

“Eight months after his successful investment pitch, Social Traders caught up with Marcus Westbury to find out how things are progressing with the start-up of Renew Australia.  He has had a busy travel schedule around Australia and New Zealand for his award winning Renew initiative, an innovative urban renewal scheme.”

Social Traders, 21 November 2011

 

“Renew Newcastle bought nothing, built nothing and own nothing but we made so many things happen that wouldn’t otherwise have happened because we changed how things work – we made it cheaper and easier to access space.”

Newcastle Herald, 5 November 2011