July 17 2013

MONA: How One Man’s Gamble Put Hobart on the Map

The Apple Isle has historically been a destination devoid of tourists, as Tasmania could be described as the ignorant outcast of a lucky country. Whilst visitors flock to Queensland to bathe in sun or to the Northern Territory to go ‘walkabout,’ Tasmania attracts epicureans and nature lovers who bask in the desolate lands of the island.

However, through the fusion of a world class museum into the naturally breathtaking landscape of Berriedale (a small town near Hobart), the development of MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) has brought a whole new form of allure to Tasmanian tourism. MONA is the brainchild of multi-millionaire gambler David Walsh, a Tasmanian native who had the foresight to open the $200 million contemporary space in 2010. Its features include that of a cinema, a gourmet bar and restaurant, as well as a microbrewery and numerous art exhibition halls.

Museum of Old and New Art Tasmania

The space is an example of how a development can activate the dormant market of an area. The ‘build it and they will come’ adage has rubbed off on this museum, with the vast majority of visitors to the centre being tourists who have organised their trip solely to visit MONA. Through this, Tasmania and Hobart have been given the opportunity to showcase a breadth of attractions that have never been widely publicized, such as Mount Wellington, Cradle Mountain, or the exceptional produce of the island.

Though it can be acknowledged that the extravagant amount of money that was used by a local philanthropist for MONA was achieved more so for love of art than for economic reasons, it is recognized that MONA has paid for itself through the tourism and exposure it has given Hobart and the whole of Tasmania.

Museum of Old and New Art Tasmania

What other interesting, activating projects have been achieved in order to engineer tourism to a city/region? What about where you live?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Steven Petsinis

Steven Petsinis is an Urban Planning graduate from Melbourne, Australia. He has been involved in Urban Research and Development projects in Medellin, Colombia and Saigon, Vietnam and is currently pursuing his masters in Melbourne, Australia. His main interests lie in land use and social planning, sustainability, as well as studies involving globalization and it's effect on third world communities. He has recently spent one year travelling throughout North and South America, as well as Europe, where he has gathered material and inspiration for his upcoming blogs for The Grid.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 at 9:28 am and is filed under Environmental Design, History/Preservation, Social/Demographics, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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