A fabulous report has just been released recommending a Creative Catalyst Project (PDF link) be built in downtown Hamilton.
The Consultants [to the project] concluded that a catalyst is not only feasible, but is a tremendous opportunity for Hamilton. The study recommends that the creative sector, particularly Hamilton's music industry, be harnessed and catalyzed as a means to grow Hamilton's economy, re-activate the downtown area, improve the physical condition of buildings and neighbourhoods, and build pride in the community.
A creative catalyst would occupy a large, iconic building (or buildings in a precinct) downtown with an educational or cultural institution as an anchor. This facility could also house a contemporary multi-purpose performance/rehearsal space, offices, studios, retail and hospitality uses. Tenants could include established or new businesses defined as creative industries (e.g. music creation, promotion, distribution, film production) or any business that would benefit from co-locating with creative people and businesses, and new enterprises (e.g. graphic design, news media, computer programming).
The building and the programming within it would be designed to encourage interaction amongst the tenants, with the street and the surrounding community.
The report is long, but is a great read. Of particular note, the comparison between Hamilton, Austin, Glasgow and Halifax is really interesting and builds on one of the themes that we have been promoting at RTH for years - Hamilton as a creative city.
Another highlight is the research showing that the lower city, particularly Wards 1, 2 and 3, house the majority of our cultural facilities and industries with the immediate downtown core being the big winner.
Finally, I absolutely love the attention being paid to Hamilton's music scene. We have a tremendous music scene and could very well become a hotbed of live music in a similar vein to Austin with a little more networking and promotion.
The Creative Catalyst project would do wonders for downtown Hamilton and with the recommendation that the Imperial Cotton Centre for the Arts be involved, you can be sure that it will be developed properly and will be a great success.
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