Guerrilla Wars in Everyday Public Spaces:
Reflections and Inspirations for Designers

Kin Wai Michael Siu

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Corresponding Author: [email protected]

In recent years, many governments have tended to take a rational and
development-oriented approach to planning, designing and managing city
spaces. Some sociologists, however, have started to criticize this
approach, and have begun to advocate instead the importance of taking
into consideration the everyday lives of ordinary people. These
sociologists offer us a new perspective for examining how “city users”
are tactically living in their cities. This perspective may not be
accepted by all, and may have quite a lot of practical limitations;
nevertheless, it at least offers today’s designers as well as
policymakers and other professionals some reflections and inspirations
for further exploration and discussion. Through a theoretical review of
how theorists and sociologists see city space and its order from
different perspectives, and through empirical longitudinal studies done
on three Hong Kong market streets, this article attempts to ascertain
whether the inhabitants of a city-city users-are “tactical
practitioners.” The article then explores the role of city users and
their interactions with the spaces in which they are living, and offers
advice to designers who aim for more people-environment fit designs.

Keywords - Design, Everyday Life, Public Space, Strategy, Tactic, User

Relevance to Design Practice - The results of this research offer
designers a new perspective for examining how city users are tactically
living in their cities. The results also suggest that designers should
work continuously with city users to conduct investigations, and to
plan, design, implement and maintain the quality of the urban environment.

Citation: Siu, K. W. M. (2007). Guerrilla Wars in Everyday Public
Spaces: Reflections and Inspirations for Designers. International
Journal of Design, 1(1), 37-56.

Received November 10, 2006; Accepted January 19, 2007; Published March
30, 2007

Copyright: © 2007 Siu. Copyright for this article is retained by the
author, with first publication rights granted to International Journal
of Design. All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is
licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5.
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