Title

Cultural Icons and Urban Development in Asia: Economic Imperative, National Identity, and Global City Status

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

5-2007

Abstract

Global cities are characterized by the multiplicity of flows that they are implicated in - flows of people, goods, services, ideas, and images. Yet, global cities do not derive their status only on the basis that they are networked nodes. They also require particular forms of cultural capital. Cities with global aspirations have thus increasingly recognized the need to accumulate cultural capital, for which one means is to create new urban spaces, in particular, new cultural urban spaces (e.g. grand theatres, museums, libraries). These often monumental structures are intended to support a vibrant cultural life, in order to attract and sustain global human and economic flows. In this paper, I examine the efforts by Shanghai's, Singapore's and Hong Kong's governments to develop cultural icons as part of the strategy to help their cities gain global city status, and in the process, constructing shared national and city identities. I illustrate how such efforts are not universally interpreted in the manner intended, with city populations sometimes protesting, sometimes simply oblivious. At the same time, I argue that such strategies to achieve global city status are sometimes at odds with projects of nationhood. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords

Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, cultural icon, cultural capital, global city

Discipline

Asian Studies | Human Geography | Urban Studies

Research Areas

Humanities

Publication

Political Geography

Volume

26

Issue

4

First Page

383

Last Page

404

ISSN

0962-6298

Identifier

10.1016/j.polgeo.2006.11.007

Publisher

Elsevier

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2006.11.007