Defying disappearance: cosmopolitan public spaces in Hong Kong

Law, Lisa (2002) Defying disappearance: cosmopolitan public spaces in Hong Kong. Urban studies, 39 (9). pp. 1625-1645.

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Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between public space and cultural politics in Hong Kong. There is a tendency to assert that public space is disappearing in the city, whether through overt control of the public sphere or the commodification of landscape. While similar views have been expressed in relation to many cities around the world, in Hong Kong these concerns are difficult to disentangle from post-colonial politics. This paper therefore situates anxieties about public space within an historical geography of the Central district. This contextual strategy is deployed to frame a contemporary case study of the imaged powerful and powerless in the city: Hong Kong Land, Central leading landlord and Filipino domestic workers who gather in Central on Sundays to enjoy their day off. It is suggested that this gathering and the political rallies it hosts disrupt normative understandings of public space by introducing a transnational element that helps us to see Hong Kong’s public spaces as contested. The paper concludes by pointing to the possibilities opened up by conceiving the public space of Central as a cultural landscape and as a cosmopolitan space reflective of Hong Kong’s possible futures.

Item ID: 11613
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1360-063X
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2010 03:19
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160403 Social and Cultural Geography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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