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Walking Between Slums and Skyscrapers

Illusions of Open Space in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Shanghai

Tsung-Yi Michelle Huang

Publication Year: 2004

The book is concerned with the effects of globalization on living space (i.e. the space of everyday life), focusing specifically on East Asian metropolises, such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Shanghai.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU


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pp. v-vii

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pp. ix-x

The completion of this book would have been impossible without Mike Davis, Ban Wang, Beverly Haviland, Cliff Siskin and Krin Gabbard. I owe them a great deal for their astute criticism and intellectual stimulation. The Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation and United World Chinese Commercial Bank...

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pp. 1-11

I was writing the last part of this project when the horrors of the September 11 attacks shocked the world. New York City, the global city that serves as a role model for many metropolises in the world, suffered the most audacious terrorist attacks. The collapse of the World Trade Center, the landmark of the...

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PART ONE: Hong Kong Blue: Where Have All the Flaneurs Gone? Walking in Between Eternal Dual Compression

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pp. 13-56

In Part One of this book I intend to superimpose the social/historical account of Hong Kong's urban space as subjected to a dual compression between the local and the global with the representation of Hong Kong's cityscape experienced by its walkers in...

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1. Hong Kong: A Nodal Point of Dual Compression From British Empire Colony to Disney Kingdom Outpost

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pp. 15-29

November 1999: 28 months after the 1997 handover of sovereignty from Britain to China, Hong Kong has once again attracted the spotlight on the international stage, this time with its decision to join the kingdom of Disney. A correspondent report in New York Times' travel section unfolds the story of...

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2. Chungking Express: Walking With a Map of Desire in the Mirage of the Global City

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pp. 31-47

Wong Kar-wai's Chungking Express, a 1994 urban film about the sensory experience of walking in Hong Kong, vividly illustrates how walking as a spatial practice interacts with the global city, where global and local compression come into play. In Chungking Express, walking is a compulsory...

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3 Between Representations of Space and Representational Spaces: Flaneurie With the Camera's Eye

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pp. 49-56

To lay out the interaction between the representation of space and the representational space in Hong Kong for a critical reading of the Utopian discourse of globalization, it is essential to examine the director's gaze which mediates the walkers' experience of urban space in the film. I argue that...

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Part Two: Between Global Flows and Carnal Flows: Walking in Tokyo

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pp. 57-98

This part of the book looks at the relationships among walking, violence, and globalization in Tokyo. I will juxtapose the representation of space of Tokyo, the official account of an efficient, affluent informational city of the future, with representational space, the private account dramatizing walking...

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4. Mimesis: The Violence of Space

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pp. 63-76

Exploring Tokyo's urban morphology restructured by globalization in the 1980s and its ensuing violence, I contend that the problem with abstract space is its intrinsic violence, omnipresent but invisible. In this aspect, Lefebvre's theorization of abstract space as both normalizing and pathogenic...

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5. From Mimesis to Mimicry: Memory, Subjectivity, and Space

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pp. 77-98

As demonstrated above, mimesis is crucial to the conception of official urban planning and the assorted construction projects that cater to the demands of globalization in Tokyo. It serves as a looking glass held up by abstract space for its occupants to see themselves as an indispensable part of an ever-prosperous...

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PART THREE: Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall: Walking in Shanghai, A Global City in the Making

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pp. 99-136

Rome was not built in a day: Western megalopolises like New York, London, or Paris all seem to testify to the validity of the saying. However, contemporary East Asian metropolises often prove otherwise. Tokyo, as described in Part Two, was rebuilt into a global city within three decades....

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6. "Build It and They Will Come": Transformation of Pudong into a Copy of the Global City

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pp. 103-110

April 18, 1990, should definitely be marked as one of the significant dates in the urban history of Shanghai. When the then Premier, Li Peng, announced that the development of Pudong was the decision of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, Pudong was destined to become the political...

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7. From Alley Houses to High-rises: What Happened to the Lived Space?

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pp. 111-118

To illuminate how the lived space of ordinary people's everyday life is undermined to serve the expanding space of global flows, I will concentrate on the four most profound impacts on the inhabitants that resulted from Shanghai's global city formation. Above all, to reshape Shanghai into the city...

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8. Sleeping Beauty Waking Up to a New World of Capital: Wang Anyi's Shanghai Stories

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pp. 119-136

Reminding everyone of its time as the Paris of the Orient in the 1930s, Shanghai's global-city formation turns the city once again into a shining star on the international stage. Parallel to the large-scale construction of the city of tomorrow, in the political and urban discourse there is an appeal to pick...

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pp. 137-138

The past two decades of the twentieth century saw technological advances in communication and transportation facilitate capital globalization, which gives rise to a popular belief in a new global space that is fluid, flexible, and open to everyone democratically. Examining the validity of such a conception...


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pp. 139-145


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pp. 147-165


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pp. 167-171

E-ISBN-13: 9789882203068
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622096356

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2004

OCLC Number: 650586970
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Walking Between Slums and Skyscrapers

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • City planning -- China -- Hong Kong.
  • City planning -- Japan -- Tokyo.
  • City planning -- China -- Shanghai.
  • Open spaces -- Social aspects -- China -- Hong Kong.
  • Open spaces -- Social aspects -- Japan -- Tokyo.
  • Skyscrapers -- China -- Hong Kong.
  • Globalization -- Social aspects -- China -- Shanghai.
  • Slums -- China -- Hong Kong.
  • Slums -- Japan -- Tokyo.
  • Slums -- China -- Shanghai.
  • Open spaces -- Social aspects -- China -- Shanghai.
  • Globalization -- Social aspects -- Japan -- Tokyo.
  • Skyscrapers -- Japan -- Tokyo.
  • Skyscrapers -- China -- Shanghai.
  • Globalization -- Social aspects -- China -- Hong Kong.
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