Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223058
Title: STREET CULTURE IDENTITY : THE POST-COLONIAL "ASIANISATION" OF HO CHI MINH CITY CENTRE'S STREETSCAPE
Authors: TRAN THI PHUONG OANH
Keywords: Architecture
Design Track
Heng Chye Kiang
2010/2011 DT
Asianisation
Ho Chi Minh city
Street culture
Issue Date: 7-Jan-2011
Citation: TRAN THI PHUONG OANH (2011-01-07). STREET CULTURE IDENTITY : THE POST-COLONIAL "ASIANISATION" OF HO CHI MINH CITY CENTRE'S STREETSCAPE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Series/Report no.: ;Phuong Oanh Tran
Abstract: “When one thinks of “colourful” streets and street life, Oriental towns come to mind before any other. Asians and Africans have a natural talent for making streets attractive…” – Bernard Rudofsky, 1969 Such a remark seems to draw a stereotype for Asian streetscape, with its “chaotic order, pluralistic richness and unintentional complexity” (William S. Lim, 1998). In fact, the street is the best place where one can observe characteristic and cultural identity of a city. The street is more than a channel for movement of traffic and pedestrians, it is the place “where the action is”, where people go out to interact, to see and be seen, where the society showcases what it embraces and has to offer. This dissertation will study the role of the urban street as an everyday public space, a space that stimulates interactions among the urban public and projects the cultural identity of a society. Based on those findings, the paper will then examine how the differences in culture and lifestyle have led to the process of ‘asianisation” of the streetscapes of Ho Chi Minh city (HCMC) centre in the post-colonial period. Known as ‘Paris of the Far East’, HCMC, under the name of Saigon before 1975, was the capital of the French colonial Indo-china, and its city centre had undergone a massive urbanization that resembled much of Haussmann’s Paris in the early 20th century. The street pattern of the city civic centre still remains pretty much unchanged from the colonial time, however, the street life has now been ‘asianised’, as the local people started to take over the streets and assign to them new meanings after independence, due to the lack of urban planning policies and regulations from the government. The formal ‘Parisian’ streetscape of the colonial Saigon has now given space for the more informal, multi-dimensional, ambiguous and chaotic one that is considered characteristic of the Asian metropolitan street life. The question, however, is whether those characteristics are originated from cultural differences that led to ‘Asianisation’, or they are traces that can happen anywhere, given a certain condition of economic growth and political control. Cultural identity, after all, is an ever-changing entity that is subject to many forces including social structures and natural events, and in the contemporary world with globalised standard in planning and technology, urban identity seems to lose its significance as modernity is more often associated with Western standards.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223058
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