Loose Space and Urban Appropriation in a Glocalized Asian Street

Accepted abstract for Paper & Poster Exhibition at 5th Conference  of  The International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU) NUS – Singapore, 24-26 February 2011

ABSTRACT

This research is aimed at investigating the current practices in urban life in between ‘looseness’ and become regulated, juxtaposition and hybridization of global and local dialectics in Asian streets; Examining the behavioural and spatial patterns of its urban elements that shaped the continuity and liveability of the spaces. It argues that there is a strong relationship between the presence of loose space and its urban appropriation to the liveability of the street. However, current urban transformation that concerns with beautification, maintenance and surveillance tends to eliminate invaluable social interactions on the streets.

Cihampelas Street, a well-known commercial-Jeans street in Bandung, Indonesia is taken as a case study. Unobtrusive street life observation and morphological mapping were adopted as major methods. The intensity of street life was measured by counting the frequency of people and semi-fixed elements present on the street within a particular time. Data is analyzed by comparing the findings at different times and days. Results are presented by de-layering techniques using diagrams and photographs sequences.

Findings on Cihampelas Street reveal that the presence of a new shopping mall has created a new street life pattern and a new dependency of informal activities. The presence of semi-fixed elements such as push carts, tables, stuffs brought by street vendors and also display from shops have given rich social encounters between strangers. Corners, thresholds and spaces in front of closed shops and blank walls become desirable spaces for urban appropriations. A Street becomes a contested space and space for tolerance, where global and local, formal and informal dialectics occurred. Mobile vending and hybridizing are between spatial representation and practices found on a glocalized Asian street. This research gives pictures of current transformation in Asian streets and its urban landscape. Understanding the patterns will inform planners, urban designers, and policy makers In order to create and develop more sustainable approaches for urban development and management of public spaces.

Keywords: loose space, appropriation, Asian, street life, glocalized, Cihampelas

*This research is based on her master degree’s thesis from The University of Melbourne, Australia (2009).


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