Everyday practice in public living environment : contesting street spaces in an ever-transforming urban area in Hong Kong

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Everyday practice in public living environment : contesting street spaces in an ever-transforming urban area in Hong Kong

 

Author: Huang, Yi Hua
Title: Everyday practice in public living environment : contesting street spaces in an ever-transforming urban area in Hong Kong
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2017
Subject: City planning -- China -- Hong Kong.
Urbanization -- China -- Hong Kong.
Urban ecology (Sociology) -- China -- Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Design
Pages: 1 online resource (5, xi, 293 pages) : color illustrations
5, xi, 293 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2952810
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8887
Abstract: Hong Kong is dedicated to being the world city of Asia, and it has thus undergone an ever-transforming process of urbanisation. Reclamation programmes, an import to Hong Kong, have become the dominant approach to urban planning, and these have generally been conducted by professionals who claim to be acting in the public interest. Hong Kong's urbanisation has been largely based on modernist urban planning, and it has been assumed by many people that this is the only proper means of directing the community towards the ideal of social harmony. As a result, everyday life for ordinary citizens in urban regions takes place within a highly organised society. The rapid growth of high-rise building and economic-and effectiveness-led urban planning is resulting in the erosion of public space and street life. The emerging processes of globalisation and its continuous effects on the ambiguity and privatisation of urban space have triggered debate over the right to the city, 'a cry and a demand' in a range of micro-spatial practices (struggle, conflict, and negotiation) over public space. Thus, the main objective of this study is to examine the modernist production of space in relation to the everyday life (practice) of people in Hong Kong by asking the following questions: (a) To what extent do city composition and morphology relate to urban planning and development in modernist ideology? How do the physical order and organisation of the city represent current society-space relations? (b) What does an everyday perspective offer for rethinking and reassessing the modernist urban planning system? How will modernist planning change the nature of public spaces and everyday lives? (c) In what ways does the ongoing discussion of rights to public space relate to the debate over the modernist production of space? What particular lessons could be learned from the dynamics of 'practiced space' that are reconstructing the socio-spatial order?
Research on Hong Kong typically highlights the significance of modernist planning principles for the city's radical urban transformation. As such, it is necessary to develop a conceptual frame for this study that focuses on discourses on everyday space within the Hong Kong context. Taking Hong Kong's Wan Chai District as a case study, this study seeks to go beyond the city as spectacle by illustrating the tendency towards specific urban development strategies, and by offering a detailed account of streets. Derived from more than three years of intensive fieldwork, the findings show that urban reclamation and multimodal urban spaces illustrate hybrid regime and that the spatial differentiations between modern urban areas and traditional living areas can deprive everyday life of authenticity in multiple ways (e.g., design practices, ordinances, management, and land regulations) and continue to be characterised by alienating behaviour. The findings also show that the inhabitance is important for citizens for whom street space in the city may be the only resource for citizenship and belonging. Within a larger context of urban informality and messiness, such everyday social processes of reconstructing space can be observed in specific settings that embody the insurgent potential of urban spaces and an alternative urban order and are to be inhabited and used as a paradigm of 'grounded' trans-urbanism providing for and reclaiming the right to the city. These settings thus provide a microcosm for those excluded from the planned, formal city. Through an analysis of street-life rhythms and the themes of reconstructing public space, in accordance with the segmented urban fabric of the city, four quadrants are identifiedthe definitive modes of space of transudation, transference, translation, and transgressionto provide a valuable narrative in understanding the production of space and the practice of planning. Using a well-structured framework that responds to the shift in global city research, emphasising the 'everyday politics of the inhabitant', this study aims to provide insight for policymaking, planning/design, and social development and to serve as a reference for planning/design research and application in Hong Kong and for other cities.

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