As Ari and I walk around Adelaide’s CBD I am acutely aware that Adelaide, and South Australia, is in a slump due to the decline of manufacturing and the end of car manufacturing in particular. The old industrial age is coming to an end. So what replaces it? What are the new drivers of economic growth. What can Adelaide do to reinvent itself, and prevent itself from becoming a rust bucket state? There doesn’t seem to many realistic options.
Many in government circles say mining. Or defence? Or high tech manufacturing. Or bioscience. Or education. Or agriculture. Rarely do they say the creative economy. The latter is a joke to Treasury and Big Business still beholden to their resource based and industrial cargo cults and frozen in the resource-trade mindset. The creative economy is art and design and that’s not business or the economy.
What they don’t seem to get is that the current derelict industrial complexes and buildings could be filled with hip restaurants, shops, design studios and galleries created by innovative locals and frequented by design-savvy tourists.