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In 1843, the British colonial government in Hong Kong designated the northern coast of Hong Kong Island as the City of Victoria. Hindered by natural resource shortages and a poor natural environment, the government had to make use of new construction techniques and infrastructure to solve daily life problems, which included housing, transport facilities, water supply, law and order and public hygiene. The city was managed with two completely differently strategies. The Central District was mainly modelled on what was practised in the West. Commercial activities and trade were conducted in a systematic manner, and the enactment and strict enforcement of laws were key to the implementation of policies. However, the densely populated area of Sheung Wan, located in the western part of the city and inhabited by the Chinese community, was blighted by poor housing and hygiene conditions as well as high crime rates.
Hamzah Muzaini and Claudio Minca
Despite the burgeoning array of studies that have taken ‘heritage’ as their focus of concern, particularly in terms of how the past has been folded into present-oriented objectives, as well as the myriad politics associated with this, there has been comparatively lesser attention on heritage as enacted, practised and experienced on the ground, particularly those that take less visible forms and spearheaded by non-state agents either as producers or consumers of the said past. Even as these have emerged, they frequently do not go beyond romanticizing how these instances of ‘heritage-from-below’ (HFB) have served as checks to what Laurajane Smith refers to as formal ‘Authorized Heritage Discourse’ (AHD) even as there may be instances where the HFB produced not only reproduce dominant official discourses or are themselves motivated by the need to erase or forget the past. Not only does this oversight obscure alternative contexts in and through which the past may be valued within society today, it also misses out on (a more critical investigation of) the more quotidian practices, motivations and performances of heritage-making taking place especially within (in)formal spaces. In the light of this, the first part of the introductory chapter highlights the aims and rationale of the edited book in terms of (a) why there is a need to consider ‘heritage from below’ particularly from a more critical perspective, (b) how this agenda is situated and positioned within the literature on ‘heritage’ (within cultural geography, critical heritage studies and the wider social sciences), as well as (c) charting the trajectories that this may take. Following this, the rest of the chapter introduces the different case studies that make up the edited book with respect to how each speaks to the key trajectories of the book.
Edited by Hamzah Muzaini and Claudio Minca
Anssi Paasi, John Harrison and Martin Jones
Region and territory have been major keywords of geographical thinking, methodology and research practice since the institutionalization of geography as an academic discipline at the end of the nineteenth century. But what is a region? How are they constructed? How do regions relate to territory? Are regions and territories still relevant in today’s modern world characterized by all kinds of flows and networks? How are regions and territories affected and shaped by social forces? What does it mean to study the geographies of regions and territories? What does the future hold for these spatial categories? These are just some of the key questions, which have not only shaped the long intellectual history of studying regions and territories, they are as relevant today as they have ever been. In this chapter we chart the increased utility of the region and territory in different social, political and cultural realms. We trace the evolving geographies of regions and territories through five distinct chronological phases – traditional regional geographies, regional science, new regional geography, new regionalism and new regional worlds – before revealing the dynamics underpinning a regional resurgence in globalization. In the final part, we contend that contemporary geographies of regions and territories are marked by distinct regional worlds, diverse regional worlds, and decentred regional futures. Finally, by taking stock of the current state of debates on the theory and empirical dimensions of regions and territories, we make the case for a new phase of consolidated regional geographies.