Pedestrianised streets in the global neoliberal city : A battleground between hegemonic strategies of commodification and informal tactics of commoning

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number102983
Journal / PublicationCities
Online published23 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


Pedestrianisation, the conversion of a vehicular street for pedestrian use, is increasingly being proposed worldwide as a sustainable measure by hegemonic powers. Pedestrianisation can bolster uneven urban development patterns, however social tensions can magnify on the pedestrianised street, where deprived social groups claim the right to the city. This study employs a mixed method approach to examine, within a de Certeausian theoretical framework, the relationship between the governmental strategies promoting pedestrianisation and the tactics of pedestrianised space informal appropriation. Within this context Hong Kong emerges as a revelatory case, it is a city where the extreme scarcity of public open space exacerbates the conflict between social groups interested in this resource. The analysis provides evidence of a discrepancy between expected and actual uses of the pedestrianised streets. Furthermore, this study highlights the need in the context of the global neoliberal city for discussing the theoretical dichotomy of strategies and tactics. This paper argues for pedestrian planning which includes stationary use as a main pedestrianisation objective, as well as for responsive urban design that carefully considers the association between behavioural patterns and spatial features of the pedestrianised street.

Research Area(s)

  • Behavioural mapping, de Certeau, Global neoliberal city, Hong Kong, Informal urbanism, Pedestrianisation