Sheyla S. Zandonai

Sheyla S. Zandonai
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm
Room 622, 6/F, Knowles Building, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
The Portuguese Calçada: An Urban Artifact in the Creation of Heritage Landscapes in Macau

Division of Landscape Architecture – Research Seminar Series (Fall 2017)

Sheyla S. Zandonai
Research Associate, Laboratoire Architecture Anthropologie, France

Cecilia L. Chu
Assistant Professor, Division of Landscape Architecture, The University of Hong Kong


Primarily an urban project employed in the revitalization of the cityscape, the calçada portuguesa is a typical mosaic-like cobblestone pavement decorated with aesthetic motifs stemming from a Roman tradition and first used in nineteenth-century Portugal, which found its way to Macau in a more systematic manner in the early 1990s. By focusing on the ways in which it has been produced and transformed during a moment of political transition – with Macau’s handover set for 1999 – I analyse the ways in which the new Chinese administration has embraced a cultural item and urban artifact originally perceived as a Portuguese ‘legacy’ while espousing strategies of theming bound to market the city under its rising economy of tourism. As discursive and material and technical adaptation have gradually aided ‘localizing’ the calçada into the cultural history of place, attendant processes of city-making have entailed the creation of what I call heritage landscapes. I aim thereby to problematize the question of heritage proper as a ‘floating signifier’ with both long and short links with the past, and close and distant ties to culture and the leisure industry.

About the speaker:

Sheyla S. Zandonai holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology and Ethnology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), France. She is currently Research Associate at the Laboratoire Architecture Anthropologie (LAA), École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris La Villette (France), and journalist and contributing editor for Project Asia Corporation (Macau). She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Macau and Lecturer of Ethnography at Trent University, Canada. Her current research examines the relationships between urban renewal and the political economy of gambling and tourism, and the emergence of practices and discourses of heritage in Macau.

The DLA Research Seminar Series provides a platform to discuss scholarly research on the built environment that is interdisciplinary in nature. The series aims to identify common research threads from landscape architecture, architecture, planning, urban design, and conservation, and by doing so instigates critical reflections on the different approaches to the study of landscapes and cities.


All are welcome. For enquiries, call: 3917 7699