student profile: Ms Sirma Altun


Thesis work

Thesis title: The Making of World Cities in Asia: Socio-Spatial Struggles in Hong Kong and Taipei City

Supervisors: Adam David MORTON , Beatriz CARRILLO GARCIA

Thesis abstract:

�p�This research is about the relational formation of Hong Kong and Taipei as Asia’s world cities. The World Cities/Global Cities framework has been widely used in the study of urban question in contemporary Hong Kong and Taipei. Alternatively, the same question has been examined underlining the role of regional scale in shaping urban legacies. Within both literatures, scholars have popularly employed a comparative method. In parallel to previous studies, my thesis looks at city branding, world city formation and socio-spatial struggles in Hong Kong and Taipei - the two Asian world cities - in comparative terms.However, I am employing a relational comparative method in my thesis. Engagement with the method of incorporated comparison and relational comparative studies helps to explore the formation of Hong Kong and Taipei as two Asian world cities as internally related. Along with the relational comparative method, this thesis builds upon socio-spatial theory, which offers conceptual tools to understand the relations between space,state and society in Hong Kong and Taipei. The originality of this thesis lies in its effort to put socio-spatial theory in dialogue with the relational comparative method. Empirical investigation of this thesis is based on field research in Hong Kong and Taipei, covering semi-structured interviews with academics, NGO members and activists working in the field of world cities/global cities, urban redevelopment, housing, public space, urban space, and heritage preservation movements. In addition to conducting interviews, field research in Hong Kong and Taipei includes developing a feeling of place and understanding the similarities and differences of the local conceptions of space and place in Hong Kong and Taipei through participant observation; establishing an overview of the socioeconomic environment in Hong Kong and Taipei in general; and developing a literacy of local space-times in Hong Kong and Taipei. One of the primary objectives of conducting field research is to collect local data which is not accessible by researchers outside of Hong Kong and Taipei. Local data offers a rich source of knowledge upon which theorization about a specific place can be built. Here, the conception of local data is a rich one, including the study of the above mentioned characteristics of the two localities.The investigation of the formation of Hong Kong and Taipei as two Asian world cities covers the study of bottom-up understandings of world city image and societal responses to it in the form of socio-spatial struggles and contestations. Through a dialogue between the relational comparative method and socio-spatial theory and by means of empirical investigation during field works in Hong Kong and Taipei, this research seeks to achieve its promised contribution: developing an understanding of the counter-spatial imaginaries in Hong Kong and Taipei as the dialectical outcomes of world city formation and related socio-spatial structuring.�/p�

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