Rethinking metropolitan production from its underside: A view from the alleyways of Hồ Chí Minh City

Abstract : The ubiquity, peculiar historical growth and specific spatiality of alleyway neighbourhoods make them one of Hồ Chí Minh City’s most defining features. At a time of great pressure to “modernise” the metropolis, efforts are being made to upgrade the alleyways by systematically widening them and regulating the uses to which they are put. Studying this urban renewal project provides a better appreciation of the metropolisation process in the Global South from its “underside”; that is to say, from its most “ordinary” components. By addressing the question of which Hồ Chí Minh City alleyways have been upgraded, which have not, and why, this article makes clear that metropolisation is a highly situated process. Most importantly, it addresses the different forces – global and local, morphological and social, economic and political – that shape contemporary urban renewal in Vietnam today. To this end, urban spaces are conceptualised as “fields of forces”, embodying the contradictory global and local forces at work in the process of metropolisation. I identify the ways in which these forces are combined in each neighbourhood, leading to different outcomes. The article draws on the findings of an extensive ethnographic study conducted over five years (2010–2014) in six alleyway neighbourhoods in pericentral districts of Hồ Chí Minh City chosen for their diversity. Such a comparative analysis allows us to go beyond the simplistic vision of metropolisation as a standardising process, instead emphasising the reality of hybrid urbanism.
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Journal articles
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https://hal-univ-diderot.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01695210
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Submitted on : Monday, January 29, 2018 - 10:34:55 AM
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Marie Gibert. Rethinking metropolitan production from its underside: A view from the alleyways of Hồ Chí Minh City. Environment and Planning A, SAGE Publications, 2018, ⟨http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0308518X17751230⟩. ⟨10.1177/0308518X17751230⟩. ⟨hal-01695210⟩

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