Dissident Domestication of Public Spaces. Micro-Occupations in Urban Redevelopment Areas: Tokyo and Hong Kong

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 13:00
Oral Presentation
ANA MEDINA, Keio University, Japan
Shibuya, a dynamic, commercial and complex ward in Tokyo, allocates the construction of one of the biggest projects of urban redevelopment in this city. This under-construction site is central and acts as a core hub, containing a centrifugal force that attracts activities and people to its centre. Hong Kong on the other hand, known as the shopping paradise, is small in area but one of the most complex urban sites, and contains in its surface a permanent state of under construction projects.

In these two different modes of urban redevelopment, in recent years there have been spatial occupations as actions of protests. Nevertheless, after their eviction, these places became hubs of spatial and social control, in a sense to avoid possible future occupations implemented by local authorities. It is in this situation that local groups, acting with a dissident character, challenge this state of control, appropriate leftover urban spaces produced by the sites of construction, and transform them into radical domestic public spaces. While in Shibuya, the leftover spaces, result of the construction site, is a net of points spread around it, and in Hong Kong, they are a net that covers the surface of the city.

Through multiple micro-occupations, dissident citizens expose a state of movement of objects, creating a mode of inhabiting two cities in one: XL and L infrastructure (highways, overpasses, skyscrapers, and so on) and S objects and actions (umbrellas, light bulbs, masks, blue plastic fabrics, etc.). In both areas, these micro-occupations are placed in different layers and levels, and the result is a complex system of actions that generates a micro-aesthetic image, one that is dynamic and intermittent, and emerges as a radical assemblage of ad-hoc architectures.