Negotiated Public: Investigating the Streetscape of Beijing’s Old City
The emergence of conflictual practices in the street life of Beijing’s old city has challenged the conventional use of the concepts of public and private in the design of public space. This paper proposes a novel way of reading and understanding the street as a public realm under negotiation by exploring the controversial and conflicting spatial practices and ambiguous social expressions of a traditional type of street in Beijing, namely the hutong. It argues that the street is best understood as a dynamic public realm negotiated through common agreement, spatial conflict, and ephemeral intervention. This argument hopes to open discussions towards a more localised and comprehensive understanding of public space in Chinese cities.
appropriation, negotiation, public space, the streetscape