Researching the contemporary city

Researching the contemporary city: Identity, environment and social inclusion in developing urban areas

Peter Kellett
Jaime Hernández-García
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt15hvwwk
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Researching the contemporary city
    Book Description:

    The city is perhaps the most complex of all human constructs. In the 21st century when cities are bigger than ever, and the majority of the world’s population now live in urban areas, the need for research into this complexity to address the large scale challenges of urban life has never been greater. This collection of research studies from different parts of the world, brings together case studies, underpinned by theory, to contribute to the urgent search to make our cities more just, more livable, more accessible, more participatory and more democratic: in short, more humane places to live and work. These crosscutting themes of social inclusion, spatial integration and poverty alleviation are the ever present motifs and motivations throughout this volume. The eleven chapters are grouped into four interrelated sections: the creation and representation of the urban; the production and transformation of the informal; the construction and appropriation of public spaces; and finally, the transformation, use and meaning of home. Collectively the essays engage with the city at a range of scales, but underpinning all of them is a concern for the everyday realities of ordinary people’s lives. These detailed and finegrain analyses of complex processes are a modest contribution towards the creation of cities which are not simply more economically viable and environmentally sustainable, but also embody the ideals of social justice.

    eISBN: 978-958-716-758-0
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-6)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 7-8)
  3. PREFACE: IN HAPPINESS INN
    (pp. 9-10)
    Peter Kellett
  4. INTRODUCTION: RESEARCHING THE CONTEMPORARY CITY
    (pp. 11-24)
    Peter Kellett and Jaime Hernández-García

    As numerous commentators and academics repeatedly remind us, this is the first time in the long history of human life on the planet that the majority of us are living in places which are classified as ‘urban’. In the past, cities were frequently places of privilege and opportunity for only a minority of people: places of commerce and exchange and the centres of sacred and secular power. The large majority of people lived in small settlements or in isolated communities engaging mostly in subsistence agricultural economies with relatively minimal engagement or knowledge of life in the slowly expanding cities. Urban...

  5. The Creation and Representation of the Urban
    • CAIRO: A DECONSTRUCTION READING OF SPACE
      (pp. 27-50)
      Mona Abdelwahab

      Built upon multiple layers of history, the image of Egypt and Cairo, the capital city, are caught in a growing tension between past and present, national and global, east and west; and the growing population reflects heterogeneous backgrounds, classes and cultures. However, studies of urban space in Egypt show the dominance of a monolithic historic image through “a singular and short-sighted theme—namely socio/religious reading of urban spatial patterns” (Elsheshtawy, 2004, p.2). This has linked the city to reflections and pre-conceptions detached from the surrounding reality and accordingly, influenced the emerging relations and patterns of power. This dominance has also...

    • TRANSFORMING THE DESERT INTO A LIVEABLE PLACE: THE EGYPTIAN EXPERIENCE
      (pp. 51-74)
      Tamer Abdelfattah Ahmed

      The desert plateaux bordering Cairo are experiencing radical transformation following the current urban policy which has overwhelmingly adopted the concept of master-planned estates (MPE)¹. The rise of MPEs around Cairo can be attributed to two main factors; a) the efforts to contain the city within its built-up area; and b) the efforts to divert population growth to the east and west desert plains and away from the green north and south. In general these factors were a result of attempts to improve the city inhabitants’ quality of life by offering more liveable urban environments² (Ahmed, 2011).

      The aim of this...

    • NEGOTIATING DISABLING ENVIRONMENTS: A COLLECTIVE MOVEMENT IN BANGKOK
      (pp. 75-92)
      Antika Sawadsri

      Access issues for disabled people have long been connected with explanations of individuals with impairments. Nevertheless, access to public facilities and places for people with impairments has become a crucial part of many political agendas (Imrie, 1996). Furthermore, constructions of the physical environment often constitute socio-political segregation in the sense that accessibility is inherently political; cities are literally crippled when members of their population are restricted from reaching their full potential due to inadequate planning and design (Vujakovic & Matthews, 1994, p. 359).

      In the last two decades, the traditional belief about disability in Thailand has been challenged by ideas...

  6. The Production and transformation of the Informal
    • TECHNOLOGY AND PARTICIPATION: GEO-INFORMATION TOOLS IN SETTLEMENT UPGRADING
      (pp. 95-116)
      Musyimi Mbathi

      This chapter explores how the integration of geo-information based technology tools in settlement upgrading has impacted on planning processes particularly with regard to community participation. Upgrading programmes are designed to address the existing poor infrastructure conditions or lack of secure tenure usually associated with informal settlements. Similarly current planning processes are adopting more inclusive approaches geared towards getting all actors, especially the resident communities, involved in decision making and planning for interventions. Geo-information tools can facilitate these processes by creating a platform for integrating spatial and non spatial data as well as visualisation of the settlements. The capabilities offered by...

    • STATUS, CAPITAL AND IDENTITY: FROM INFORMAL TO FORMAL HOUSING IN BANGKOK
      (pp. 117-134)
      Rittirong Chutapruttikorn

      Based on Bourdieu’s concepts of capital and capital conversion, this chapter focuses on how squatters employ their social and cultural capital to change their informal dwellings into formal housing. The low-income residents in informal railway communities receive a chance to play a key role in selfmanaged housing projects when joining the Baan Mankong housing programme. The upgraded dwellings not only improve the residents’ physical environment and well-being, but also help rebuild their image which was previously stigmatised with various negative assumptions from wider society. This study discovered that their social capital in the form of community association and collective action...

  7. The Construction and Appropriation of Public Spaces
    • PEOPLE SHAPING PUBLIC SPACES: POPULAR URBAN DESIGN PROCESSES IN MEXICO
      (pp. 137-150)
      Mauricio Hernández-Bonilla

      Urban design practice, education and research have usually been restricted to exemplary developments from the past, new projects, and interventions in existing urban environments where the task is to enhance the urban qualities as well as designing and embellishing open spaces. Nevertheless, there is an urban context which has been widely overlooked by the urban design discipline the self-made urban environments created by the majority of the population in the developing world (Duarte, 2009).

      In the developing world, participation processes and the partnerships of urban actors appear as the key components in upgrading and transforming of informal or popular settlements...

    • THE PRODUCTION OF INFORMAL URBAN SPACE: THE BARRIOS OF BOGOTA
      (pp. 151-168)
      Jaime Hernández-García

      Open spaces and housing in informal settlements are largely produced and transformed by the users — the people themselves. But by contrast with housing, there is limited information and understanding about open space processes. This chapter examines these spaces in terms of how they are designed, built, managed, transformed and sustained, along with the role of locals and other actors. Using data from two case studybarrios— neighborhoods — in Bogotá, the production of informal urban space is explored.

      According to Kellet (2008, p. 11) “Informal settlements are by definition unfinished projects in which the agency and creativity of the occupant-builders is...

    • CONVERGING HERITAGE APPROACHES IN HISTORIC CENTRES: The Danzón and the Zócalo of Veracruz, Mexico
      (pp. 169-186)
      Brenda Galván-López

      Official notions of heritage informing regeneration strategies for historic centres in the Latin American context have tended to concentrate on the built environment. However, in recent years several scholars have argued that heritage should not be limited to built structures, but should be reconceptualised as a set of cultural processes, through which people can reproduce part of their identity and sense of belonging. This chapter unpacks the official and nonofficial approaches that inform some of these processes and the ways that offi-cials and ordinary people engage with them, in the context of music and dance performances in public places in...

  8. The Transformation, Use and Meaning of Home
    • ABOUT DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE: FROM RURAL TO URBAN IN INDONESIA
      (pp. 189-210)
      Muhammad Faqih

      This chapter explores young adult’s housing preferences within the context of culture change accelerated by government development programmes. The development processes introduced by the Indonesian government from 1969 impacted greatly on people’s lives, socially, economically and culturally. These processes go in tandem with big changes in people’s habitation including their domestic architecture. Designed as a comparative case study this research¹ investigated three settlements, from the remote area in Madura Island to the centre of Surabaya city to depict the gradual change caused by different intensities and levels of development. One of the key methods used scale models to explore people’s...

    • SPACE AS CAPITAL: HOUSEHOLD ADAPTATION STRATEGIES IN HOME BASED ENTERPRISES IN INDONESIA
      (pp. 211-226)
      Agam Marsoyo

      The use of domestic space to generate income in home-based enterprises (HBE) requires household adaptation strategies, in particular for those with small dwellings that house extended family members. For those with larger-sized dwellings, HBEs are easier to accommodate, but where space is at a premium a conflict of interest can arise between those family members carrying out domestic activities and those who are pursuing working activities.

      The various strategies used by households in adapting their use of space aim to satisfy the requirement for both environmental and social harmony. The process of adaptation cannot be achieved rapidly, but is a...

    • HOME-BASED LIVELIHOODS AND HOUSING POLICY: URBAN INFORMALITY IN INDIA AND INDONESIA
      (pp. 227-250)
      Peter Kellett

      The Rawat family live in a low-income settlement in Indonesia and earn their living making brightly painted papier-mâché masks in their home. Everyone in this three generation, six person household is involved in the work and all the spaces of their dwelling are utilised. Mrs Rawat explains:

      There are no special rooms for family and for business. We have furniture for the guestroom and the dining room. But it doesn’t just function as the dining room or the guestroom, because [both] are also used to work in. So it all gets very untidy. [...] Sometimes we must move some furniture...

  9. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 251-255)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 256-256)