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Ideas, Insights and Rambles.

A blog by Lindsey Fair


Hipster chasing is the oh-not-so-new 'cool' in economic development strategies. Urban revitalization through youthification has become the norm in economic development (Moos, 2018). How is this done? It starts with a celebration of decay as a motif for environmentalism and social responsibility (Moos, 2018), mixed with coffee, craft beer, and alternative modes of transportation. Design and food are inseparable (Bayley, 2017), as the smaller living spaces offered in areas of densification requires urban dwellers to frequently eating out (Cumming, 2015). Cities have embraced this model of hipsterfication to stay out of the red, hence the ‘new black’. But is it all bad?

The hipsters of the 1950’s were characterized by their religious fixations on zen buddism, often intoxicated, vagabonds (Anonymous, 2018). The hipsters of today are different; characterized often by their fashion sense, but they are more complex than those suggestions and can also be characterized by education, ethics, and employed. In the world of academia, they are often referred to as the Creative Class, neo-bohemians, or bobos (Flordia, 2014; Scott, 2017). In fact, hipsterfication is a phenomena that is changing, or has changed, our views on quality of product over quantity, the value of decluttering, and the coolness of re-using / re-purposing as an act of social responsibility - not just a fashion statement (Cumming, 2015). Hipsters are perhaps teaching us ways to build a new type of economy (Gåsland, 2018) built on exchange and reciprocity (Scott, 2017). They are not anti-commercialization as they are often cast, instead they are interested in the conversion of cool, mixed with doing good, into commerce and the world of self-employment (Scott, 2017). In this process of gentrification through hipsterfication, it is hard to tell which comes first – does the process attract hipsters, or do hipsters attract new developments, investments and infrastructure (Billingham, 2015).

As a neighbourhood / city is ‘hipsterfied’, there is a risk of over-curating urban spaces in the plight for economic survival; eliminating original culture and diversity and replacing it with a homogenous urban landscape that could be anywhere in the global north (Moos, 2018). But as Northfelt (2013) stated, not all places need to look like Disneyland, why eliminate everything that makes the place interesting including the dirt, the cigarettes and ‘faint smell of sex’.

So I pose the question, is Kingston hip enough or too hip?

Yoga Studio + Dutch-style Bicycle Store + Farm-to-Table Restaurant + Retro Chic Bakery with Gluten Free Sourdough Bread + Edison Bulbs + Bespoke Furniture + Retrieved Lumber + the “classic harbinger of gentrification” Starbucks (Mitter, 2018) = HIPSTERFICATION

This was a project in the coolest course I have ever taken - lead by Dr. Laura Cameron.

Feel free to download the actual walking tour, map, questions to ponder and list of references.

Download • 325KB


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