AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 258

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Session 258: Politics od Space in Asian Cities

Transformations in work travel patterns and travel inequities in the globalizing city of Bangalore, India
Ashwin Sabapathy, East-West Center, India

The growth of the Information Technology (IT) sector in Bangalore, since the liberalization of India’s economy in 1991, has resulted in the integration of the city into the global economy and has become a part of the network of global cities. The IT sector is closely integrated with a global system of production and caters largely to a global clientele. Apart from the impact on urban form, there are indications that these developments are causing uneven growth patterns and socio-economic polarization resulting in widening differences in travel patterns. A comparative assessment of travel patterns has been carried out between employees of an IT multi-national corporation and a traditional public-sector-unit (PSU) using sample data from a questionnaire survey. Regression models show that there is a significant increase in travel cost as income rises for the employees of the IT sector, even though travel distance is not influenced by income. The reverse holds true for employees of the PSU - rising income significantly increases distance though income does not affect travel cost. Behavioral choice models also show that with increasing income, IT employees are more likely to choose two-wheelers and cars for commuting while PSU employees are more likely to choose public buses or walk to work. The paper suggests that the services oriented IT economy in Bangalore is exacerbating differences in work commuting patterns and transforming travel behavior in terms of work travel mode choices among socio-economic groups compared to the traditional manufacturing economy.

Tax-payers and trespassers: struggles over citizenship in contemporary Mumbai
Gayatri A. Menon, Franklin & Marshall College, USA

As Mumbai’s elites vie with other urban elites to provide a home for global capital, its poor find it increasingly challenging to negotiate a home in the city, finding themselves cast as ‘outsiders’ who threaten the neo-liberal re-visioning of the city through their trespasses of property rights. Despite frequent demolitions of slum dwellings and violent evictions of the poor by state agencies, the urban elite perceive themselves to be a beleaguered, hard-working, tax-paying ‘citizenry’ that is ignored by a state whose electoral prospects obtain from appeasing the vote-banks of ‘illegal squatters’. In this paper I examine recent attempts by the urban elite to re-chart the cartography of citizenship and electoral politics in a city where over sixty percent of the population lives in slums or on pavements. Exploring elite discourses - on the use and issue of photo-passes for the poor, on deterring new migrants by restricting access to state services to only those among the poor who can prove that they were resident in the city before 1995, and campaigns to remove squatters’ names from the city’s electoral rolls because of their infraction of property rights - I look at the convergence of the chauvinistic politics of the Shiv Sena party and the corporate agenda of Bombay First as the city’s elite seek to change the terms of inclusion into the subjectivity of citizenship in contemporary Mumbai.

Locating Civic Life in Urban Space: Lessons from Muang Klang, Thailand
Katia Balassiano, Iowa State University, USA

The production of a new civic space in Muang Klang, Thailand, has revitalised community life and helped spark city planning initiatives. Civic spaces – inclusive sites accessible to a diversity of people with the market and government at arm’s distance – provide settings for spontaneous as well as organised forms of public life that can foster collaborative community action. The new recreation complex in Klang reflects not only the community’s desire for a place to exercise and socialise, but involves a production process that strengthened institutional practices supportive of participatory planning and convivial community life. The people of Klang, partnering with the Thailand Environment Institute, are using civic spaces to enhance livability within the Thai context of devolving political responsibilities. This case illustrates the significant role of the nongovernmental organization in creating spaces for the people and how explicit consideration of civic spaces can improve participatory planning in the public sphere.

Spatial patterns of occupational structure and their changes in the Tokyo metropolitan area
Ryo Koizumi, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan

Numerous studies on the spatial pattern of Tokyo metropolitan area and its change have been done mainly by urban geographers and urban sociologists. However, most of the previous studies were not sufficiently able to capture the spatial pattern since they chiefly analyzed data aggregated by administrative unit. The purpose of this study is to reexamine the spatial pattern of occupational structure and its changes in Tokyo metropolitan area using grid square statistics and to explore the background of the changes in the spatial patterns considering the demographic shift between 1995 and 2005. The results show that the spatial pattern of occupational structure based on the spatial unit of municipality has shifted from a sectoral pattern to a concentric one. A similar spatial pattern was observed in the result of the analysis with grid square statistics in the zone within a radius of 15 kilometers from central Tokyo and the outer fringe. This can be due to a centripetal movement of white-collar workers owing to the increase of housing supply in downtown Tokyo. However, the result based on grid square statistics indicated a radial pattern along railroads in the zone between 15 kilometers and 30 kilometers from the central Tokyo. In addition, segregation by occupational structure according to the distance from railroads has become prominent in the suburbs. This trend, which is hard to be captured by analyzing data aggregated by administrative unit, implies that not only residential segregation but also social polarization has progressed in the suburb of Tokyo.

Insiders as outsiders, outsiders as insiders: Redefining identity in modern urban Japan
Natalie Close, Australian National University, Japan

Life in urban Japan traditionally revolved around small local community groups such as the neighbourhood and merchants associations. Those not involved in community groups, for example, salarymen were viewed as outside the community and excluded from taking part in certain events including the annual community festival. However, given the current position of the salaryman within Japanese society, what has happened to this concept of insider and outsider? As salarymen, these people have little connection to the community groups but society is largely focused around them and their needs. Through continuing, and to a certain extent reinventing traditions such as the annual mikoshi festival, are traditional ‘insiders’ trying to hold onto their positions as insiders? Who in modern Japan is the insider, and who is the outsider? This paper proposes that the people who traditionally were thought of as insiders may in actual fact be on the periphery of society today. In order to bolster community festivals many groups have now opened up to those traditionally thought of as being outsiders such as women, part-time workers, students and foreigners. Through the use of festivals and other events, ‘insider’s’ aim to keep, and publically display their status as insiders.