Co-Creative Urbanism The production of plural evolutionary spatialities through conflicts and complicities between public and private in the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam


  • Manfredo Manfredini The University of Auckland
  • Anh-Dung Ta The University of Auckland



Public Space, Differential Space, Agonistic Space, Evolutionary Spatialisations, Hanoi


Under the impact of economic globalization, today cities put a high priority to improve their attractiveness and become ideal destinations for global capital and elites (William S.W. Lim, 2014). Results of these “improvements” are often severe gentrification and spectacularisation processes that compromise resilience of local communities. These have an important impact on the materiality of tradition that constitutes complex of historical, social and cultural linkages is being gradually decontextualized and commodified, severely damaging local identity, community and knowledge (William S. W. Lim, 2013). Epitomes of these disruptions of complex rooted linkages are the “creative,” post-consumerist landscapes of consumption, ubiquitously emerging in public spaces of ancient central city streets.

Contrasting such tendency of producing deterritorialised places of consumption, trapping people for hours at a time in hyper-real spaces, relevant socio-spatial instances of resistance are found. This paper explores the complex spatialities of conceptions, everyday practices and actions of one of these places that preserves genuine rhythms of daily lives. The historical central district of Hanoi is chosen as case study, where local inhabitants develop idiosyncratic tactics to engage with public space, encroaching sidewalks with complex set of practices. These are places where local inhabitants everyday actualise complex sets of conceptions, practices and actions that notably exemplifies those that produce differential spaces - using the notion proposed by Henri Lefebvre. Disassociating from regulated, limited, planned and homogenized environments as occurring in present shopping malls and theme parks, the central district of Hanoi sidewalks offer chances for accidental encounters, unexpected events and support a very diverse range of local inhabitants in an extremely active and dynamic play. The sidewalks appear as a loosen space (Franck & Stevens, 2007), where unpredictable uses, intermingled spatial interconnections and complex social interrelations generate.

This paper discusses the findings of a research aimed to explore (how – what – why) the interaction between the multifarious spatial activities of residents and transients, and describe the patterns of such inclusionary relations. Particularly, the study intends to demonstrate how there is a (ambivalent condition in witch) complex networks of social activities produce and are produced by a distinct set of spatialities that involve inclusive networks of local agencies. So as to achieve the target, the theoretical lenses of Lefebvre’s spatialities and Kim’s spatial ethnography are useful, on the one hand to comprehensively decode and interpret “social space” and on the other hand to clearly describe such space.


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