TDSR 11.2 Spring 2000

GLOBAL DIASPORAS AND TRADITIONAL TOWNS: CHINESE TRANSNATIONAL MIGRATION AND THE REDEVELOPMENT OF VANCOUVER’S CHINATOWN
Katharyne Mitchell

THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF HYBRIDITY: A READING OF ETHNIC IDENTITY AND URBAN FORM IN VANCOUVER
Duanfang Lu

MARTYRS, MYSTERY AND MEMORY BEHIND A COMMUNAL HALL
Sidney C.H. Cheung

THE ‘NIGHT ZONE’ STORYLINE: BOAT QUAY, CLARKE QUAY AND ROBERTSON QUAY
Heng Chye Kiang and Vivienne Chan

WRITING SPACES: CULTURAL TRANSLATION AND CRITICAL REFLEXIVITY INTRADITIONAL DWELLINGS AND SETTLEMENTS REVIEW
C. Greig Crysler

 

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Volume 11.2

GLOBAL DIASPORAS AND TRADITIONAL TOWNS: CHINESE TRANSNATIONAL MIGRATION AND THE REDEVELOPMENT OF VANCOUVER’S CHINATOWN
Katharyne Mitchell
This article examines two intervals of immigration and capital investment by Hong Kong Chinese into Vancouver’s Chinatown in British Columbia, Canada.  In the first interval, highly educated professionals from Hong Kong arrived in Vancouver in the late 1960s and allied with local forces to block state-directed urban redevelopment projects which threatened to destroy the cultural and economic core of Chinatown.  In the second interval, Hong Kong immigrants allied with offshore Hong Kong investors and local merchants and residents to reduce the development restrictions imposed by “heritage” zoning in Chinatown, thus facilitating the rapid gentrification of the area.  The manner in which both preservation and redevelopment occurred highlights the ways that place, and the relationships between people, are always constitutive of and central to the functioning of global economic circuits.  Further, the economic and cultural power of this global diaspora facilitated not just the reworking of a traditional place over time, but also galvanized new discussions concerning the very notions and definitions of what constitutes “tradition” itself.  The ongoing redevelopment of Chinatown in Vancouver thus provides a lens for a particular type of global-local articulation, one that involves not just morphological change, but also a glimpse into contemporary renegotiations of the very terms and definitions of cultural heritage.

THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF HYBRIDITY: A READING OF ETHNIC IDENTITY AND URBAN FORM IN VANCOUVER
Duanfang Lu
Recently a tendency has arisen in cultural criticism to reactivate the notion of hybridity as a way to open a new path for the rethinking of resistance and dominance.  However, by conceptualizing hybridity as a timeless form of oppositionality, this new critical direction has tended to succumb to the temptation of homogenizing multiple realities.  Through a comparison of the urban forms of Vancouver in the early and late portions of the twentieth century, this essay suggests that, while the hybrid pattern of Vancouver during the first quarter of this century was more likely to be a boundary-crossing mixture, one major character of the hybridity of late-twentieth-century Vancouver is that “the other” has emerged as part of the constitutive core.  Analysis of the differences between these two historical periods shows how various degrees and forms of hybridity appear to shift continuously with changing relations of power.  The essay calls for greater attention to the temporal dimension of hybridity in attempts to understand the complexity of opposition and domination in any specific place.

MARTYRS, MYSTERY AND MEMORY BEHIND A COMMUNAL HALL
Sidney C.H. Cheung
This article concerns how memories are affected by social change and shaped within specific cultural and political contexts.  Starting from the local interpretation of a communal hall in a traditional settlement in Hong Kong’s New Territories, it explores some historical background in relation to village alliances and the contested meaning of such a heritage in relation to the armed resistance to British takeover of the New Territories in April 1899.  By questioning the identity of the 172 villagers memorialized as “martyrs” on a plaque in the hall and seeking to understand the building’s position in regard to a specific socio-cultural landscape, I attempt to explain recent social change in the New Territories.  Most importantly, I explore how the indigenous villagers’ memory was reconstructed to mark the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

THE ‘NIGHT ZONE’ STORYLINE: BOAT QUAY, CLARKE QUAY AND ROBERTSON QUAY
Heng Chye Kiang and Vivienne Chan
This article focuses on the Singapore River as the nucleus around which modern Singapore developed.  While the importance of the river grew initially as a direct result of its ideal location and its role in Singapore’s development as a port, its significance, in time, came to encompass far more than mere commercial functionality.  The article seeks to examine the changing agendas behind the conservation and revitalization of the Singapore River and the subsequent transformation of their ideals: from providing socio-cultural cohesiveness and continuity, to becoming primarily a vehicle for tourism.

WRITING SPACES: CULTURAL TRANSLATION AND CRITICAL REFLEXIVITY INTRADITIONAL DWELLINGS AND SETTLEMENTS REVIEW
C. Greig Crysler
This paper explores how the “social” and the “spatial” are defined and represented in discourses on tradition in TDSR.  I discuss some of the prominent debates in the journal since its inception, and suggest that a paradigm shift is underway, in which discourses that define traditional environments as socially and geographically isolated, “nonurban,” “preindustrial,” or “premodern” spaces (and often located in the so-called Third World) are giving way to those which constitute “tradition” as a contested site of power relations in a global context.  I suggest that this represents an important shift of emphasis away from idealist conceptions of tradition, to those which explore how it is grounded in asymmetrical relations of power that shape, and are shaped by, among others, the state, the global economy, the built environment professions, and writing on tradition itself.

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