Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Welcome to Grey Lynn South

After a few technical glitches (the 8tribes website wasn't keen on linking to results pages), I've received enough replies to my "which tribe are you?" questions to do some simple analysis. Bear in mind that I don't have a lot of faith in the tribes concept itself, and certainly not in the reliability of the online survey, but the results might reveal something about WellUrban readers.

Here's a graph (click for a modicum of legibility) showing the mean score for each of the tribes as a blue bar, with small black dashes for the individual results.

Graph of '8 tribes' survey results for WellingtonClearly, Grey Lynn is the dominant tribe. That's not at all surprising, given Wellington's reputation as an educated, liberal public-servant enclave, and since you're all WellUrban readers, naturally you're all going to be "well-educated, highly principled, socially aware, culturally sophisticated people" (ahem). Then again, some people have suggested that the online survey is slanted towards Grey Lynn, and they might have a point: after all, is anyone to the left of Ayn Rand really going to answer "no" to "Acting ethically is so much more important than financial gain"? When even well-known libertarian bloggers end up nearly 30% Grey Lynn, something's not quite right.

But it's not all grey cardigans: Cuba St and Raglan also scored highly. The former shouldn't be a surprise, given that it's the only tribe named after a part of Wellington, and someone's got to keep all that freaky fringey carnival stuff going. The latter confused me for a while, but then I realised I was thinking of "Raglan" as being a bit like Golden Bay, whereas on closer reading it seems the tribe is more about free-spirited entrepeneurs than hippies and surfers. So these two tribes offer quite a useful balance to the Grey Lynn tendency: it seems that Wellingtonians (or at least WellUrbanites) are a bunch of principled, cultured, creative entrepreneurs.

I didn't have enough responses to make a really significant geographic analysis, but I thought I'd try a quick map nonetheless. "Tribes" are not supposed to be exclusive, and people can have characteristics from more than one, but for the sake of simplicity, I've assigned respondents a colour based on their single most significant tribe:

Map of '8 tribes' locations in WellingtonGrey Lynn dominates even more in this case, notably in Te Aro and the city fringe, though with one person way out in Stokes Valley. There are only two Cuba Streeters, and while one was in Te Aro as expected, the other was in Karori (presumably getting odd looks from the neighbours). There's a hint of a pattern to the Raglan locations, though not quite what I expected: just beyond the inner residential neighbourhoods, in suburbs that are close to nature yet still in touch with the city. And there's one really notable outlier to show that Petone is neither the new Newtown nor the new Thorndon, but the new North Shore.

Of course, there's a whole chain of weak links to invalidate all of this as even vaguely serious research: the tribes themselves are debatable, the online survey is too short to useful, my own survey had only a handful of respondents, and that was from a self-selected sample of readers of a blog which may not represent Wellington as a whole. I'll write another post soon to expand upon some of those weaknesses and explore how one might try something more meaningful. But it does confirm my belief that the mythical "real kiwi joker", who dreams of a quarter-acre section and a garage full of Holdens, is becoming an ever more irrelevant and even dangerous cliché (especially in Wellington). Some people are still banging on about this blokey "national identity", but it's time to realise that there is no single national identity, and that as a collection of peoples we are much more diverse and adaptable than some realise.


At 11:41 AM, January 23, 2007, Blogger Martha said...

Perhaps I received the result I did because Petone is a North Shore of sorts (she says optimistically).


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