For today’s hipsters, there’s just no fun in walking well-trodden paths, whether in transit or in looking to lay down roots. Always trying to find or create something new, the entrepreneurial ones spot potential in neglected areas in need of TLC, transforming them with innovative ideas to attract the similarly-minded.

British fashion designer Wayne Hemingway explains the impact this is having. “Hipster-led regeneration is creating value around the world, often in places where government investment just doesn’t cut it,” he says.


North America

Former automobile manufacturing centre Detroit, once mired in debt, has proved rich pickings with its abandoned buildings. Midtown is popular among artists. Amid the pop-up galleries and shared studios is the edgy Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit – in what was once an auto dealership – and Dell Pryor Gallery (4201 Cass Avenue, Tel: 1 31 3833 6990), which sells art by locals.

Up in Canada, Vancouver’s Yaletown is a warehouse district turned hotspot for bars. One of the first on the scene was brewpub Yaletown Brewing Co (above), which serves ales and lagers in an old warehouse.


Latvia’s capital Riga has been through war, but things are looking up thanks to creative entrepreneurs. Stroll down Miera Iela (or Peace Street) and you’ll find thriving independent stores from florists to bakeries. At Illuseum tea shop, you can sample leaves from around the world.

In London, the disused car parks and abandoned buildings of once grimy Peckham have been repurposed for everything from club nights to rooftop yoga sessions. The Bussey Building, a 120-year-old warehouse space, is now occupied by CLF Art Cafe (above), which showcases cutting-edge theatre, art and music.



The near-forgotten Shek Tong Tsui has transformed into Hong Kong’s place to be, with a fantastic range of eating options. Ga Gi Nang (G/F, 15 Po Tuck Street, Hill Road, Tel: 852 3565 6641) serves Tex-Mex-style food and mixes up a mean cocktail – try its oyster martini. Like all good hipsters, it also hosts live music, street parties and markets selling locally designed fashion.

Hipsters in South Korea are flocking to less pricey, post-industrial chic Seongsu, which is building a vibrant cafe culture. Rusted Iron in Dumbo (above), a cafe with a philanthropic ethos, serves artisan coffee and features works by inhouse artists.

An adapted version first appeared in Silverkris.

Like this? Check out these remodelled train stations and stylishly restored bank vaults.