Conditioned atmospheres: the socio-technical redevelopment of Singapore’s Chinatown (14504)
An important element of the recent growth of major Asian cities could be said to be the application of socio-technical interventions in the built environment that have sought to shape urban subjectivity. Through the assessment of recent developments in assigned heritage districts in Singapore, particularly Chinatown, the paper considers the relationship between essentialized vernacular heritage forms such as shophouses, hostels and hawker stalls, and their replacement by the ‘conditioned atmospheres’ associated with modernist built form. This will include an examination of how the ‘comfort, convenience, cleanliness’ paradigm advanced by Shove and others can make sense of the changing ‘atmospheres’ (eg. Edensor 2013) of urban space. It will describe how boutique hotels, new hawker retail formats, and new public gathering places address concepts of atmosphere and conditioning, and how this relates to the governmentality of urban life in contemporary Singapore.