Title: How to sell Macau
Authors: Pimentel, Mariana 
Orientador: Rossa, Walter
Keywords: Desenvolvimento Urbano, Macau, estudo;Território, Macau, estudo
Issue Date: 2012
Citation: Pimentel,Mariana Cruz Vaz - How to sell Macau : learning with the territory's staged urban reinvention. Coimbra, 2012
Abstract: Since the official establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region [MSAR] in 1999, which meant its handover to the People's Republic of China [PRC], this territory has been in delirious transformation. The liberalization of the gambling industry and the consequent proliferation of casinos and luxury hotels, as well as the recent inscription of its Historical Centre in the UNESCO's World Heritage List are the most significant events of the last decade. In fact, the territory has become a severe case of a flourishing economy since then, especially due to its blooming tourism industry, mostly driven by the gambling sector and its high revenues. Together, these singularities have been leaving an impressive mark on the city which has been attracting millions of tourists every year, while making way for remarkable financial growth, promoting Macao's wealthy status. Undoubtedly, Macao has evolved into a well known touristic city in the first decade of the new authority, but with no further land to grow, limited infrastructures and reduced array of industries, the city could not afford being on the verge of becoming a victim of its own success. New measures became necessary to prevent Macao from urban and economic failure. In order to inhibit the city of running out of attractiveness, the government has realized the need to implement new measures tailored to the territory's updated reality and ambitions. In addition, one must not disregard the powerful influence of its surrounding area, the Pearl River Delta [PRD] region. Since the late 1970's, when the PRC introduced a new open-door policy, the financial growth of the nation has been unquestionable. The world now looks up to the PRC as an economic powerhouse, where the PRD has played a crucial part, revealing itself as one of the motors of such prosperous economy. Once under the PRC sovereignty and with its matchless location at the doorway of the Chinese mainland, Macao has been recognized as an integrating element of the national development blueprint and acknowledged as part of a larger regional endeavour. It is the PRC's will to launch the implementation of a mega conurbation having the MSAR, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [HKSAR] and the city of Guangzhou (in PRC's mainland) as the three main supporting cores, taking advantage of each area's main specificities: "[...] the Pearl River Delta will strengthen its cooperation and coordination with Hong Kong and Macao to bring into play each other’s advantages. The region is supported to pursue convergence with Hong Kong and Macao in terms of urban planning, rail transit networks, information networks [...] so as to forge jointly the most dynamic and internationally competitive city cluster of the Asia-Pacific region."2 In addition, the development plan for the PRD has "set for the first time the placement of Macao as a tourism and leisure centre at the global level [...], which demands more effort from the administration of the MSAR and introduces a new dynamic for a more efficient participation of Macao in the regional cooperation."3 The MSAR government had already defined the city as a selling product through various measures on the development of Macao as a touristic city, but the PRC's announcement came as a reinforcement of the MSAR tourism-oriented governmental discourse, whose future development is now supposed to occur in concurrence with its neighbours, readjusting itself to the stated PRC's course of action. Being Architecture a key strategy within the management and marketing of territories, How to sell Macau4 proposes a journey along the urban reinvention planned for the territory, which is being conducted as a means to provide the city with a new promotional image and superior living quality, surpassing its inherent morphological drawbacks. In fact, several projects are being implemented already, whose effects on the territory will be irreversible. For this research, the structuring of the city planning was based on three major topics: CITYSCAPE; REGIONAL INTERLOCKING and TRANSPORTATION NETWORK, essential to attract investors and potential inhabitants; to promote a global satisfaction level amongst the residents and, most importantly, to serve as a tourism booster. This research is presented in two main chapters. Chapter 1 will firstly focus on Macao, contextualizing its latest urban and economic transformations, providing an overall understanding of the territory's urban change narrative until what Macao stands for nowadays. Also, taking into account that "China's international cities cannot form without the surrounding metropolitan interlocking region,"5 it will take a tour around Macao to get to know its neighbours, comprehend its role within this vast area and assess the valuable significance of such urban region for its future development. Chapter 2 will embark on the analysis of the most decisive projects for the upcoming years. These will be divided into sub-chapters according to their nature. CITYSCAPE will focus on the main project affecting the territory's skyline and waterfront arrangement: the new landfills plan, while REGIONAL INTERLOCKING will present the joint plan for the Hengqin island and the Shizimen Central Business District [CBD] on the nearby municipality of Zhuhai (in PRC's mainland). At last, TRANSPORTATION NETWORK will highlight the implementation of the Macao Light Rapid Transit System [LRTS] as well as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge [HKZMB] venture. As the result of my emergent curiosity on the way this territory is perceived nowadays, this research attempts to inform of the challenging and unprecedented momentum that Macao is currently facing by picturing the overall expected transformation and mapping the city's intended expansion. Needless to say, this mise-en-scène would not be complete without pointing out eventual contradictions or adversities such as the UNESCO regulations, the high population density, the evident discrepancy between the old and the new city and, more importantly, the lack of an urban and tourism master plan, both deemed vital to successfully achieve a sustainable city vision. Acknowledging the new city's image as more than its physical appearance or outer shell, it also aims at questioning how the new proposals will intervene in the creation of a new figure for the territory and in which way they will be a catalyst for the consolidation of its status as a worldclass engaging tourism centre, along with its regional partners. What prospect of urban planning is there for Macao and who takes responsibility for it? Is it all in the hands of the PRC or does the MSAR has a valid say on its future? To what extent does the tourism-related objectives are influencing the city planning? Indeed, while revealing strategic planning as a powerful political instrument, it explores the political principles, motivations and intervenient parts lying underneath such mega territorial operation under the context of the socio-economic restructuring process in implementation since the handover. However, the city itself is never a finished project.6 Instead, its essence relies on the continued sequence of different stages, miscellaneous strategies and plans. Therefore, this research is not able to attain an irrefutable portrayal of Macao's future urban development. In order to assure the utmost certainty and precision (for the time being), this essay was mainly based on official reports and governmental publications and ordinances, academic papers, interviews and articles, attended seminars and exhibitions. Nonetheless, it still has a fair margin of error. None of the mentioned projects is near conclusion, allowing enough time for eventual amend of the plans, circumstances or even the players involved. Whether Macao will survive or not to this ambitious announced metamorphosis is hard to tell so far. Even so, I still find it essential these days to build up awareness, thereby one should still address the hereafter presented intentions and perhaps, learn with Macao's sui generis citymaking.
Description: Dissertação de Mestrado Integrado em Arquitectura, apresentada ao Departamento de Arquitectura da F. C. T. da Univ. de Coimbra.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10316/23315
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FCTUC Arquitectura - Teses de Mestrado

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