Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/221390
Title: CHINATOWN �S DISTRICT CONSERVATION AND ITS HETEROTOPIC SPACES : MEANS TO ESTABLISH SOCIO-ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY
Authors: HARVEY LUKMAN
Keywords: Architecture
Specialization in Urban Design
Low Boon Liang
2010/2011 Aki MAUD
Chinatown
Heterotopia
Issue Date: 14-Jan-2011
Citation: HARVEY LUKMAN (2011-01-14). CHINATOWN �S DISTRICT CONSERVATION AND ITS HETEROTOPIC SPACES : MEANS TO ESTABLISH SOCIO-ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The post-war years of economic progress to develop the nation has transformed Singapore’s built environment dramatically and demolished its built heritage for more intensive modern development. In the late 1980s, however, there was a change of values and Singapore became more concerned for the loss of its built heritage and the need to conserve it. As the test bed for conservation efforts, Chinatown became a platform for conservation planning experimentations. It was imperative that Chinatown does not become a museum environment district but to be revitalized as functioning parts of the city. Although its conservation is initially in response to the dwindling tourist arrivals and concerns with its economic value and implication, there were also attempts to sustain and rejuvenate the social and cultural fabric of the district. Chinatown today, represents itself as a heterogeneous urban landscape made up of traditional shop-houses along with mixed-use high rise developments and modern HDB blocks. Its mixed-use urban grain of diverse communities is in juxtaposition with the largely monotonous single-use office blocks of the CBD. Through the implementation of conservation guidelines, Chinatown has transformed itself from an urban slum into a historical district that portrays itself not only as a Chinese cultural enclave or a nostalgic place of familiarity for the elderly, but also as an attraction, entertainment and leisure destination for the highly mobile society. This paper seeks to examine the urban and social fabric of Chinatown and its heterotopic qualities of festivity and illusion that are influenced by the district conservation guidelines, which contribute to its diverse community and the highly mobile society a sense of attachment and belonging. Heterotopia, first introduced by French philosopher Michel Foucault, is a post-modern theory on space simply defined as spaces of alternate social and spatial ordering. In addition, it also provides a notion of festivity and illusion. These qualities are believed to stimulate a sense of attachment and belonging. Consequently, giving rise to the establishment of various new niche trades that caters to their lifestyles. As such, Chinatown may be said to represent a socio-economically sustainable conservation district. In the end, this dissertation hopes to extend concepts of district conservation and Foucault’s heterotopic qualities of illusion and festivity as one means to establish and contribute to the Concept Plan 2011 in making Singapore a sustainable city and an endearing home.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/221390
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