Monday, January 10, 2011

why research on public space is now more important for policy makers?

In an era of globalization, the role of public policy makers and urban designers is increasingly concerned in marketing their cities by advocating that they are integrated into the global map. Technology, and most precisely the upgrade of information technology sector, becomes essential in marketing the urban space as being connected with the global flows of capital, people (Porter et al. 2000 cited in Marshall 2003:18).
Subsequently, global urban projects described as  large scale developments built to accommodate high-end functions, are  increasingly initiated such as Cyberport (Hong Kong) ,Tokyo Rainbow Town, Muang Thong Thani(Thailand), Luijazui and the  Pudong Redevelopment Area (Shanghai),New Downtown(Singapore), Putrajaya (Malaysia) (Olds 1995,Marshall 2003).
 However, under the pressure of economic development and global agenda, Public spaces are increasingly privatized and purified   (Graham and Aurigi   1997, Graham and Marvin 2001).
As a result, investigating interventions that aim at providing inclusive public space in the context of a global agenda will provide linkages in between the growing urban research on the privatization of public space and the actual urban design practices and products.

Therefore, the study of possible urban interventions targeting the public space of suburban developments spurred by the global agenda is important.
These interventions need to be based on a conceptual framework that will synthesize the design attributes of  public space with the development goals set by the global agenda.
In particular, there needs to be a more thorough exploration on  how the purification and privatization of public space can be reversed through urban interventions that can benefit from the recent growing research on retrofitting suburbs that share the same attributes of global projects .
In addition, the analysis needs to take into consideration how public space were conceived  in the context and the reasons behind the particular design and policy decisions which lead to the particular characteristics of these spaces.
Importance of  global projects
Research on Globalization developed intensively (e.g. Castells 1989; Harvey 1989; Giddens 1990; King 1993; Sassen 1991) during the last decade although it is believed to start during 1970’s (Waller stein 1974; Castells 1989; Harvey 1989; Giddens 1990; King 1993; Sassen 1991).
However, the focus of the research was on mainly economic and political processes that generalized globalization debate into abstract forces affecting the urban space. Global projects are emerging concepts that deal with the specificities of the urban space being remodeled to respond to global agenda. As such, they offer an opportunity to investigate specific articulations in space and time.

Urban research on globalization based on a locale is needed as it provides new directions in term of being more empirical and specific and leading to practical interpretation of theoutput of the design process .
§  Importance of the study  public space
Although privatization of public space has been researched on since 1980, the research focused more in identifying the problems and ills of such a privatized ’’public space’’.
Starting from a more activist perspective, there needs to be more  thinking on interventions that capitalize on existing research and address the possibility of the success of such interventions within the global context.
The  approach will be essentially more multidisciplinary as public space is defined by integrating multiple layers in terms of anthropology than sociology, urban interventions formulated shall offer the opportunity of a holistic integrative approach

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