Community Initiated Adaptive Reuse for Culture and the Arts: ‘The Tanks Arts Centre’ Cairns, Australia
Keywords:Arts and Culture, Adaptive Reuse, Social Value, Aesthetic Value, Community initiated, Industrial Heritage, Urban Tropics, Cairns
A group of World War II naval fuel storage tanks strategically located in a tropical rainforest in Cairns, Australia, were adapted for arts and cultural purposes. This paper explores the adaptive reuse of this unusual industrial heritage site. It uses a case study approach to demonstrate how the social and aesthetic values of the place have been conserved and grown, and how these values have interacted to increase community attachment through a community-initiated approach to the site’s reuse. A scoping review and secondary data helped develop the case study and informed semi-structured interview questions for key industry stakeholders. The paper deduces that a community-led bottom-up approach to the reuse of space for arts and culture results in greater community attachment and, as opposed to top-down approaches, allows for continued growth in social and aesthetic value. Nevertheless, ongoing success of community initiatives in most cases is also reliant on the structure of a government-led administration.
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