The Place of Community Practices in City Heritage Projects

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 1:30 PM
Room: 311+312
Oral Presentation
K.C. HO , Sociology, National University of Singapore, Singapore
The fast transforming city is faced with a systematic tension, the necessity of city building and redevelopment and yet the need for this to be respectful of the different ways of life in the city.

My paper examines two heritage projects, Pomahakan in Bangkok, Thailand and Kampong Glam in Singapore. Both sites represent contrasting ways in which local communities have been alienated from wider city-based efforts branding heritage. Set in a planned Rattanakosin historical park of old Bangkok, Pomahakan represents a case of how local heritage and ways of life are fighting for recognition and preservation alongside the royalist and religious heritage being represented in the Rattanakosin Project. Kampong Glam project, in contrast, has retained the local community icon, the Sultan Mosque as the jewel of the ethnic Arab-Muslim quarter, but is stripped of its residential and community elements. The result is a vernacular physical form, redressed to play a larger role as tourist attraction and entertainment district.

Ultimately, successful projects require an understanding of how activities get sendimented, layered and connected, how places develop identity and meaning, and how policies should combine with market and community to create the attractive diverse spaces, transforming the city into what Lofland calls “a garden of earthly delights”, comprising of the kind of places we love and want to go back to.