Hong Kong / Space for Protest

What makes citizens choose a particular form of protest? How does space function as mediator between these citizens and their political acts? Whose power and control drive negotiations between citizens and regimes during protests?

We are interested in the history of Hong Kong protests, how the past and current protest movements suggest the creation and transformation of architectural space and urban planning. In other words, we are interested in how people use, manipulate, claim, and appropriate urban space while advocating for their own values.

MIT has done a relevant exhibition on civil protest and urban design in 2008, we see this as a reference providing ways of investigating the boundaries, location, and scale.

We would look into the three key events, past major protest in Victoria Park, the completion of ‘Door Always Open’ and Umbrella Movement and examine the relationship between the protesters and urban spaces in the city. After that, we would like to find some hints and generate urban ideas for the organization of public spaces for citizens.

Compared with other past protests in Hong Kong, the current umbrella movement is more long-lasting and more powerful in some ways. We pick this event because we are interested in how the movement takes form in the urban streets and public spaces, how people occupied the streets and introduce new functions and reprogrammed the urban spaces into dwellings, study rooms, public spaces etc.

As there are not much detailed record and books for this ongoing event. Most sources will be obtained either by documentation by ourselves or through online.



Tali Hatuka, MIT. (2008) URBAN DESIGN AND CIVIL PROTEST: A SOCIO-SPATIAL LABORATORY. [Online] Available from: http://designprotest.tau.ac.il/protest.htm [Accessed: 16th December 2014].

4 Comments on “Hong Kong / Space for Protest

  1. The Occupy Movement underscores the need for new thinking on how public spaces can facilitate participatory democracy. While the protest may not result in fundamental political reform, the movement has already raised a lot of awareness not just in Hong Kong but worldwide as how the police or the government employ repressive tactics to evict and thwart protestors remains controversial and has provoked many to further garner public sympathy for the movement. Facing controversies on the use of a particular space, cites should grant priority to uses that enable the populace to more actively engage in democratic governance.

  2. The domination and transferal of urban space to yield and voice out a large scale protest movement is a critical action to be reviewed, regarding how values and lands are interpreted in official urban planning, and how the value has been temporarily transformed through socio-spacial domination. In comparison with historical protests in Hong Kong, did the manipulation of land become a much more significant method and form overtime?

  3. I would like to argue that the roads and MTR stations should not be considered as Space for Protest. Conversely, the protest activity makes use of these spaces by blocking their original functions to expand its presence and impacts to larger scale. Space for democracy activities is necessary in every city, but the question is where it should locate at. Are the happenings of umbrella movement positive or negative to the urban planning of Hong Kong.

  4. I would like to recommend you an article by Eric Hobsbawm “Cities and Insurrections” whichi I think is very relevant to your topic. The article generally discussed how the structure of cities has affected popular movement, and conversely, what effect the fear of such movements has had on urban structure. I think this article may answer some of your questions earlier regarding the relationship between protest and space.Eric stated that there are three aspects of urban structure: how easily the poor can be mobilized, how vulnerable the centers of authority are to them, and how easily they may be suppressed. With these basic principles, we can begin to evaluate how fit and effective Hong Kong can be as a space for protest.

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