Author: Zhao, Tianjiao
Title: Freedom and control in public space : quality everyday life in the Hong Kong mass transit railway
Advisors: Siu, Kin Wai Michael (SD)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2015
Subject: Mass Transit Railway Corporation.
Local transit -- China -- Hong Kong.
Transportation -- Social aspects -- China -- Hong Kong.
Public spaces -- China -- Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Design
Pages: xi, 260 pages : illustrations ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: The urban rail transit (URT) system has a history of more than 150 years. Cities have increasingly begun to construct URT systems. URTs have become part of the city system and permeate citizens' everyday lives (EDLs). The URT space is a new form of city public space that carries people of different backgrounds. Different users share the same public space, in which they pursue their own purposes. Different categories of behaviour and interactions happen in the public space. People shape the public space, while the space shapes the citizens' EDLs. Conflicts and cooperation exist together in the URT space. The Hong Kong MTR is a world famous URT system. It has a history of around 30 years. The Hong Kong MTR's status in the city and in city life has increased every year since its construction. People have recently begun paying more attention to the quality of MTR life. A quality MTR life is not only convenient for citizens, it brings harmony to the whole society. This study takes the Hong Kong MTR public space as a case study and focuses on freedom and control in the public space. It aims to produce a quality MTR life by answering its research questions: a) What is the role of the MTR life in people's EDLs? b) What do users expect for a quality EDL in the Hong Kong MTR space? c) What are the relationships between freedom, control and a quality MTR life? d) How can we achieve a balance between freedom and control in the MTR public space, regarding citizens' EDLs?
This study uses both qualitative and quantitative methods. Observations are conducted across time and space dimensions. Interviews and questionnaires are conducted with different users to supplement the information acquired from each. Representative cases are selected to form a case study. Systematic research methods are used to successfully identify people's EDLs, confirm the role of the MTR life in citizens' EDLs, define a quality MTR EDL from the needs perspective, construct a model to discover design opportunities, identify how freedom and control exist and work in the public space and promote a method of balancing freedom and control. Based on its theoretical discussions and empirical findings, this study emphasises that the balance between freedom and control is a primary factor in constructing a quality MTR life. Dealing with freedom and control in a public space involves dealing with human relationships and balancing benefits between different groups. The findings illustrate that the MTR life is part of citizens' EDLs and plays necessary roles in the whole city system. A quality MTR life can be constructed according to the needs pyramid, from the low to the high levels. The balance between freedom and control in a public space can be achieved by recognising and analysing behaviour from the ethical and strategic perspectives. This thesis provides a systematic analysis of the MTR space in Hong Kong. The nature of the MTR space and the process of its development are explained. References for both designers and policymakers are promoted. The research method used here could also be used in related studies of other city URT systems and public spaces.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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