SPACE SIMULACRUM: A PARADOX OF CONCEPTUAL NOVELTY
Free (open access)
157 - 167
HAZIRAH HANI HAMZAH, SYED SOBRI SYED ZUBIR, FAIRUZ REZA RAZALI, ZAHARAH YAHYA, FAIRUS KHOLID
The idea of public space, as it has developed in modern times, was space for the free use and enjoyment of the citizenry. The ambiance and character of public space should be determined not by any private or public authority, but by the ways in which people choose to use it. However, in Ho Chi Minh City, to be precise, political interventions to the existing local by-laws has restricted free access to public space and are eradicating the diversity of civic life. This is a new alliance of a business and state elite, set against civil society. What turns out to be ‘messy’ is the social life itself – skateboarders, protesters, buskers, leafleteers, children playing games – that is, any activity that is not shopping or getting from A to B. The Space Simulacrum is intended mainly to contest against such restrictions, and to create points of diversion around the pedestrian boulevard, pulling the crowds away from the boulevard. The urban design scheme manipulates the use of space and time, combined with hypothetical injections of programs, in order to act as socio-cultural catalysts to increase pedestrian traffic in Downtown District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, during the daytime by creating an altered reality, in which perceptions and experiences or space, duration and gravity are transformed. The methodology and strategy of plugging in social activities on some potential areas, as well as constructing minor installations throughout the site, are intended to haul people into some sort of black holes, and making them forget about the passing of times. These interventions are hopefully able to make a comprehensive rediscovery of the idea of public space, and to remediate the public realm in the immediate vicinity of the Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Boulevard.
space, time, space-time, diversion, altered reality, public space, public realm, pedestrian