Geographies of abstraction, urban entrepreneurialism, and the production of new cultural spaces: the West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong
During the 1990s and 2000s understandings of urban politics have become dominated by narratives of neoliberal urban entrepreneurialism. Considerations of, and even interest in, the diversities that exist in the specific politics that shape place developments have often been relegated to a matter of secondary interest when understood in relation to broader structural global forces. This is particularly significant as urban development projects have become increasingly bound-up with cultural programmes, many of which are embedded in the social relations of places, yet are often dismissed as subservient to global, fast-track development logics. This paper draws on a study of the politics surrounding the development of one of Asia’s largest culture-led urban development projects, the West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong. It explores the complex relationships between contemporary development discourses and historically embedded postcolonial subjectivities and policy legacies. It uses the evidence to argue for more nuanced interpretations of change, and calls for a stronger focus on the concrete relations in and through which policy abstractions are formed. Keywords: Hong Kong, urban entrepreneurialism, culture, regeneration, abstractions
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