Being the results of a survey into the cognitive topography of the City of Melbourne
Once overlooked and frequently unappreciated, the inner western suburbs no longer conjure up the drab image still fresh in some vendors' minds.Footscray, Footscray West, Kingsville, Maidstone, Newport, Seddon, Spotswood, Yarraville were formerly suburbs sneered at for being on the wrong side of the wrong river. But they are becoming the new hot cityside locales. Think Carlton, Fitzroy or Port Melbourne 15 or 20 years ago...."For a long time it was an area avoided because it was so solidly working class, because it was home to so many immigrants, because its industrial character meant it wasn't as easily beautified - or traditionally wealthy - like the eastern suburbs," says one western sales agent, who asked not to be named."It was a place you were in because you were born there or ended up when you arrived (in the country), and then you got out if you could manage it. It wasn't a place you chose to go to. But we've seen a real shift in attitude over time, so now it's an area people choose because it is diverse, because it has a kind of rough-around-the-edges character that appeals."
Indubitably everything is flux. The problem is that those who strive to build a community in the 'overlooked and unappreciated' areas, or those who just want to live close to the parental manse are shunted out by rising prices to the suburban fringe where resources are scarce but the price of accommodation is less and have to start from scratch; often the networks that were built up over years are broken (and are not easily recouped because the strands are often disparate and synchronicity played a part in bringing them together in the first place). It seems that 'the deserving' are displaced and the chancres and cancers of capitalism subsume what first attracted them which eventually turns the place into what they could have; often on a larger scale, (vide gated communities, monstrous housing complexes on the outer fringes) if they had moved out farther in the first place.It comes down to accessibility, lack of infrastructure. Also:Too far from the hub and a time lapse begins to occur. The further out you go the less groovy you become.
Apologies for taking up your comment space with unrelated words -- I'm trying to get in contact with you directly about a writing idea. If you're interested in following this intriguingly vague message up, get in touch at luke@lanewaymagazine.
Obviously this graffiti was written by a middle-class person with an education in visual art though. Kind of ironic, isn't it? Early gentrifiers always despise the later gentrifiers, who are attracted to the area by those who came first...
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