Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223077
Title: UNDERSTANDING LOOSE SPACES : SMOOTH AND STRIATED SPACE IN KOLKATA �S KUMARTULI AND SINGAPORE �S LITTLE INDIA
Authors: AW EE LOO EUGENE
Keywords: Architecture
Lim Ee Man, Joseph
Issue Date: 24-Oct-2009
Citation: AW EE LOO EUGENE (2009-10-24T08:17:19Z). UNDERSTANDING LOOSE SPACES : SMOOTH AND STRIATED SPACE IN KOLKATA �S KUMARTULI AND SINGAPORE �S LITTLE INDIA. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Kumartuli is an artisan neighbourhood in North Kolkata that specialises in making religious deity idols for the Hindu festivals of the city. Central to the artisan livelihood are the various puja festivals where demand for idols escalates exponentially. Thus, the artisans experience various peak and offpeak production periods that coincides with the puja festivals of the Hindu calendar. They often employ migrant labour to supplement their manpower needs during these peak periods and as a result, they adapt their private workshop spaces between a variety of production processes and accommodation for their migrant labour. Thus, these spaces often swing between various meanings of work/rest. To further accommodate their production needs, the artisans also spill their production activities onto the public open spaces. The urban residents in the neighbourhood also appropriate these spaces for their own uses, by illegally appropriating spaces for domestic dwelling or for their own business enterprises. These spaces thus undergo perpetual flux, with flowing meanings of public/private. Amongst themselves, the residents continually appropriate public accesses for their own desires resulting in these spaces oscillating between meanings of work/play and sacred/secular within an amicable living environment. These spatial phenomena are evident of the occurrence of loose spaces in Kumartuli, defined as spaces that are adapted by urban residents for their own desires and results in activities not established by any predetermined program. Thus, loose space in Kumartuli is a result of flexible forms of spatial control within an extremely dense population, who exercise rigorous use of limited spaces available for their livelihood. Loose spaces in Kumartuli have become a necessary part of the working essence of the artisans and residents. Similarly, the Little India district in Singapore, gazetted as a conservation area by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in 1989 and marketed as a tourist attraction by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), also exhibits phenomena of loose spaces. These loose spaces occur especially during Sundays and public holidays when there is a massive influx of South Asian foreign workers to the site. Due to this worker influx and the intense demand for space during these times, these workers often appropriate public spaces for a variety of leisure activities. To capitalise on this worker influx, business ii owners appropriate public spaces for various retail purposes. Make shift stalls selling a variety of food, flower garlands and other religious paraphernalia, are set up along the five-foot ways of the shophouses. The retailers on the ground floor of the shophouses often spill their retail display onto the edge of the fivefoot way. As a result, the authorities impose further regulations on the site during these times to curtail these activities and maintain an amicable environment for the business owners and HDB residents in Little India. Thus, loose space in Little India is space that is made permissible by the authorities and mediated between the needs to conserve the ‘Indian brand’ of the site for the purpose of tourism, the expectations of the HDB residents for perceived safety, the business needs of the various business owners and the spatial practices of the weekend foreign workers. This paper aims to demonstrate the use of Deleuze and Guattari’s conceptual relations of smooth and striated space, as a theoretic tool to rethink about the meaning and use of space, in an attempt at understanding loose spaces in the context of Kumartuli and Little India Singapore. Thereby, the dissertation will discuss the usefulness of these tools in aiding urban practitioners to understand the phenomena of loose spaces.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223077
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Restricted)

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