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Title: Cyberjaya : the making of a high-tech city
Author: Yusof, Norhafezah
ISNI:       0000 0001 0771 8443
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2008
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This research concerns the Malaysian Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project. The MSC project was the most prestigious component of the Malaysian government's strategy to modernise the country and make it a leading economic powerhouse in Asia. More specifically, the MSC was designed to propel Malaysia into becoming one of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) hubs in Asia and possibly in the world. The planners of this multi-billion project were primarily the national government which set up a Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), but it also involved the local council and private developer. The aim was to create a 'cybercity' that would become the fiiture model city of Malaysia. This city was called Cyberjaya. The aim of this research is to investigate the impact of what I will argue is essentially a Malaysian-modemist city planning concept, on the life worlds of its (prospective) inhabitants. What used to be a huge oil palm tree and jungle was transformed into a concrete modem landscape that is now Cyberjaya. Its key characteristics are a strict application of zoning, a strong emphasis on sanitation and rather high levels of surveillance. The key question is: what is it like to be living in this city? The study aims to explore the ordinary, everyday business of being, working and living in a planned, modernist, future-oriented environment. How does social life emerge in such a 'designed' space? To comprehend the microscopic details of the lived experiences of the city citizens (Cyberians), this study deployed ethnography based on a multi-methods approach of analysing official documentations, participant observation, photography and ethnographic interviewing. In an attempt to provide relevant and insightful interpretations of the lived experiences of the Cyberians, this research explores different spaces such as spaces of mobility, spaces of organisations, and public spaces. It is argued that these spaces (1) produce rich urban experiences of what living in a global technohub entails, and (2) organise and sustain a distinctive 'Cyberian' sociality. The spaces are themselves ambivalent and reveal the conflicting desires of the planners, the companies, the business retailers and the Cyberians. Its distinctive sociality is marked by (a) sterile, segregated zones of living, working and consuming; (b) the domination of the car and car-related mobility, (c), self contained office buildings and micro-cosmic organisational spaces, and (d) a lack of city promotion to the prospective city visitors, and social isolation among the city dwellers resulting in an overwhelming sense of emptiness in public spaces. By deploying modernist urban planning concepts the planners assumed they could create and offer desirable urban experiences for the city dwellers, users and visitors in tune with the demands of a modem, globalised life. However, the plans backfired and the city turned out to be rather socially dead. This enables us to ascertain the extent to which the city reflects the idea of Non-Place as proposed by Marc Augé (1992/1995), but also to identify that it has its own unique Malaysian flavour. Cyberjaya has become a transit city where most people commute to work rather than stay and dwell. It is because of this, therefore, that in the final chapter of the thesis, I attempt to outline some suggestions which should be considered by the city planners so as to enhance the social experiences of the city citizens, and to make it a more habitable and sociable space.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available