Dr Sirma Altun (IAG Award for Dissertation Excellence) Citation

Dr Sirma Altun’s PhD at the University of Sydney was completed in December 2020 and awarded in March 2021, entitled: The Production of Space in Hong Kong and Taipei: Socio-Spatial Struggles over Global City Formation.

It is an outstanding analysis of global city formation of Hong Kong and Taipei in the late 1990s, in their socio-spatial ‘repositioning’ amidst the rise of China and transformations in global capitalism. It addresses geography scholarship on city branding and the production of the built environment, highlighting the role of the state in the production of global space in both cities.

One examiner awarded the PhD unconditionally, and the second subject to very minor corrections. As fellow geographer, Professor Gillian Hart (UC Berkeley) states in her reviewers report:

“The thesis combines a sophisticated conceptual and methodological framing with richly detailed empirical and historical research to generate new understandings of the processes through which Hong Kong and Taipei have been produced as “global cities.” At the same time, Sirma Altun effectively challenges the wide-ranging global city literature, and develops an alternative framework grounded in relational conceptions of the production of space (or space-time) that draws on and elaborates the work of Henri Lefebvre and related scholars. The thesis is written with clarity and precision in chapters that build systematically on one another, and together constitute a coherent and convincing demonstration of the author’s approach to the analysis of global cities. It exemplifies as well the power of comparative methods informed by relational spatio-historical understandings.”