Session 3: Global and Local Space

4th Global Conference


Monday 9th September – Thursday 12th September 2013
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

Localising the Global at Changi Airport, Singapore
Chris Hudson
Global Cities Research Institute, RMIT University, Australia

Airports, by their very nature, are spaces of mobility and transience, “non-places” that do not constitute “place” in the anthropological sense. They can, however, become nodes in the space of flows that take on the characteristics of place, because, as Augé puts it, “in the shifting interface between place and non-place, the first is never completely erased, the second never totally completed.” (Augé 1995: 79)

Terminal 3 at Singapore’s Changi Airport is one such place. Opened in 2008 to much fanfare, it has 130 of the standard global food chain stores and retail outlets found in any international airport, but it has also been promoted in Singapore as “a lifestyle hub for families.” The Straits Times reported that Terminal 3 is so much fun and so welcoming, that, unlike other airports, people are reluctant to leave. It offers a number of child-oriented attractions, such as a 12 metre tall slide, a playground, and a dedicated corner where children can watch the Cartoon Network on television, in addition to a cinema, a multi-media entertainment centre, a butterfly garden, a nature trail and a vertical tropical rainforest five storeys high. It is also a popular spot for students, with Starbucks and other fast food places regularly filled with teenagers with laptops doing homework and preparing for exams.

This paper examines strategies to localize the global in Singapore by transforming an airport terminal from a space of transience to something more like anthropological place where identities are formed and relations maintained. Terminal 3 has become a sort of ersatz village or kampong; a safe, familiar place where people socialize with friends, share meals with family, shop and play, while at the same time acting out their global identities without ever having to leave home.

From the New World Trade Centre to China Central Television Headquarters: Place as a (Global) Node
Sanja Rodes
Griffith School of Environment, Griffith University, Australia

The paper aims to reflect upon the idea and concept of skyscrapers, as an architectural type closely related to the representations of economic and political power, the tensions between local and global, and their impact on creation of (space and) place. The correlation is to be made along two lines: first is the new project for World Trade Centre in New York, USA, designed originally by Daniel Libeskind and redesigned by SOM, and the second is CCTV Headquarters building in Beijing, China, completed in 2012 by OMA.

The correlation is to be made in the light of political and economic significance both skyscrapers play in terms of global markets—as the symbols of power of USA and China, both equally influenced (created?) by mass media. The paper will investigate how the two existing locations are physically transformed by two projects, along with the extensions of both places created by their global visibility and (online) accessibility – virtual space/place. Further, it will track the type of influence that the attention WTC and CCTV attracted can have on creation of potentially different types of places—places as nodes of global visibility and importance. Moreover, the WTC project is the recreation of the place which simulates a sense of nostalgia, while the CCTV is powerful representation of the China’s bright future, the place that disestablishes its relation with the past. By establishing the dualities in terms of two global markets and a place of nostalgia (past) against the place “for the future,” the paper aims to investigate the two particular spaces/places and their boundaries, along with the process of transformation of space into a place, transformed by both physical and virtual existence of the two projects.

Contested Space in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Aide Esu
Dept. Social Sciences and Institutions, University of Cagliari, Italy

During the long span of the conflict, Israel and Palestine, have created a complex patchwork of different representations of the same landscape focusing on multiple narratives and visions of territory. The term “territory” animates various perceptions: physical, social, cultural, religious and psychological. Unquestionably in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict space represents the core issue. The 1948 war dramatically changed the relationship to the land: political Zionism fulfils, for “the people without land,” the Hebrews of the Diaspora, the dream of a homeland; at the same time Palestinians had severed the ties with their land and their diasporic experience began. Since 1948 real space is in continuous transformation, devastated by the force of war or by the occupation. Israeli settlement policies have created highly unstable borders by the “land grasping process” and by the State strategy “land for peace.” In my paper I will focus my attention to the “land dynamics” looking at the 4 methods employed to diffuse, create, reinforce and maintain contested space:

1) Physical acquisition by manu military, which means extension of authority and power, imposition of restrictions and surveillance coercion;
2) Symbolic acquisition through space sacralisation by the adoption of sacred belonging to legitimize land ownership (the messianic view);
3) Legitimate acquisition it is strictly related to the symbolic acquisition; changing space is associated with the transformation of topòs, not only to mark the acquisition of land but also to cancel memory and any record as a possible source of legitimacy;
4) de facto acquisition: expansionistic settlement policies supported by government aid create conditions of irreversibility or intractable solutions for the definition of State borders.