(P76) Urban Porosity and Peri-Urban Space: Materiality and Social Space in Southeast Asia


Single Panel


Session 6
Thu 11:00-12:30 K12 | 2.15


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From the globalized glass and steel skylines in Singapore and Bangkok to the old urban center in Hanoi and the transforming urban space in Yangon, the material transformation of urban space in Southeast Asia often follows a global vision of modernity promoted by urban planners and policy makers. However, where state-led space production is globalized, citizens-led space production is localized. Hence, instead of the global urban aspirations of local elites, which
reference global urban forms and metropolitan urban vision, the urban aspirations of local residents are always local, rooted in place and time. This process of localization enables urban citizens to cope with the spatial transformation due to urbanization present in modern cities in Southeast Asia. This results in tensions between the governance and the everyday practice in urban space. These tensions produce urban porosity, which can be understood as ambiguity of the built urban environment where functions and use of space are not fixed but fluid. Interrupted by borders and thresholds, which can be crossed, forgotten empty spaces and voids provide openness, accessibility and mobility, as well as space for innovation and
negotiation. While spatial porosity can be found in every urban space in Southeast Asia, it is especially prevalent in peri-urban spaces where continuous changes open and close access to space. In this porous urban landscape, urban citizenship emerges as the sum of everyday practices and the emerging urban identity, which is localized in the city and at the same time connected to the global discourses and ideas. This panel hence looks at the porosity of urban space prevalent in Southeast Asia through the lens of urban governance and urban citizenship to better understand how spatial transformation, urban governance and practices of participation interact in urban Southeast Asia.