Site Photos from Ward 1, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Capitalism embraces technological innovations to conduct transactions but it struggles in today’s society due to various factors. People are accustomed to analogue method of completing a transaction because it addresses the human need of convenience and simply getting the task done. As opposed to technology which merely reveals itself as a secondary option.

This barrier was primarily removed with incentives by rewarding user’s usage on digital methods of transaction; such as, GrabPay and SamsungPay. This solution neglected the learning curve of usability and the primary function a person needs convenience. Given the intangibility technology, concerns on security arise, creating perception that someone else or something is in control.

However, it is also ironic that society accepts transactions which are not visible and physically calculated in front of them. An example of this is card payment, it is merely a representation of transaction but it comes with the complex global network system of the digital world. Do we as analogue creature need to have our primitive needs addressed first before taking the leap to accept technology? Or does geographic and infrastructure difference affect people’s acceptance of digital platforms? By means of auto-ethnography, ethnographic research, field work and use of mix methods, this investigation is framed around consumers economic identities through modernity and how this is enacted in space.

This study hopes to highlight the shift of heavy modernity of the past to the current fluid modernity of living in a capitalistic environment. In addition, it addresses the expanding growth of fluid modernity through digital methods openly accessed by people. If consumption is life, and how people consume is a form of self-expression, then people will start seeking their own welfare through the well-being of the city. How can architecture be a powerful and versatile stimulant to keep consumer demands on a level with the consumer offer? The context space of study is the network of alleyways in Ho Chi Minh City and the activities within and around it. The thesis project addresses the changing urban fabric of the alleyways as a response to the digital network of transactional activities that is co-existing with the primitive history of livelihood practices.

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