Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223468
Title: TRANSITORY GEOGRAPHY: EXPLORING NON-PLACES
Authors: LAI TIEN YONG
Keywords: Architecture
Master (Architecture)
Dissertation (Architecture)
2003/2004 AkiD MArch
Tsuto Sakamoto
Issue Date: 21-Aug-2017
Citation: LAI TIEN YONG (2017-08-21). TRANSITORY GEOGRAPHY: EXPLORING NON-PLACES. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In recent times, we spend an increasing proportion of our lives in supermarkets, airports, hotels, on motorways or in front of the television and computer screens. Surrounded by technology, we have equipped ourselves to access a fully modern landscape, or what Marc Augé would describe as the 'non-place' of supermodernity1. In his article Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, Marc Augé discusses and examines what he terms supermodernity through the production of so-called ‘non-places’. Collaborating with other urban theorists, Augé paves the way with his concept of ‘non-place’ to raise the question as to whether new environments in urban settings still assume a tangible or meaningful identity today. Non-places are spaces of movement, circulation and flow (transport and transit) which lack a historical significance and strong symbolism, thus they are missing a unique and perceivable identity. Augé’s concept of non-place or non-lieux sheds light on the socio-spatial relationships in modern societies today. The invasion of modern life by these "non-places" is symptomatic of the experience of "supermodernity" or late-capitalist existence. With the growing number of airport terminals, train stations, and commercial centres we are losing the identity of ourselves and the concept of space. However like the notion of place, “non-place” does not exist in a pure and isolated form. It is more likely that new places are generated and relations are reconstructed within. Place and non-place are contrary poles; the place never disappears completely and the non-place is never fully established - they are palimpsests on which the confusing game of identity and relation finds its own spitting image over and over. This dissertation seeks to further probe into Augé’s space of “supermodernity”, which is often conveniently overlooked as a banal and utilitarian experience. This exploration seeks to examine specific sites or building subjects which exhibit the notion of “non place”. These have become increasingly important in our daily spatial maps because they operate on a different value system that is no less important than that of a place. Employing Marc Augé’s concept of “non-place” as a starting point, this dissertation aims to address the pressing need to examine how the notion of mobility is produced through specific spaces where his study traces and examines the interstitial spaces of social life, those which are passed by in the context of the city, family and working life. It is also critical to explore another area of concern surrounding the concept of the ‘non-place’ - what is a non-place may be a place of employment for one person but for another a site of exploitation for another. Here, the dissertation seeks to examine how the abstract space of a non-place as a site of transit and flow can be exploited through the reconstruction and appropriation of different inhabitants’ activities in the urban field. Hence, this discourse will engage and examine a series of different typologies - types of non-places from the least to the most elite (public to private) – from public transport (moving space), to one with the most privileged form of mobility (airport), to a public space as a transitional zone (a civic square). The study of non-places is employed as a form of critical commentary to challenge both the form and political mechanics of urban life, and in its own small way, offer an insight into the appropriation of the concentrated heterogeneous urban spaces within the social fabric of the city.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223468
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