Neutral equilibrium in public space: Mong Kok Flower Market in Hong Kong

Kin Wai Michael Siu (Corresponding Author), Mingjie Zhu

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


Stable, unstable and neutral are three key states of equilibrium to explain a situation. Densely populated urban areas cannot be sufficiently and adequately understood and described by using the only two extreme states of equilibrium, stable and unstable. Instead, there is a middle or third sphere that exists between two poles: neutral. Using Hong Kong, a densely populated urban city, as a core case study and with the supplement of similar cases happened in other cities, this chapter explores the neutral equilibrium of city space. The discussion is based on the findings of long-term and intensive field observations in public spaces. The tactical interactions among different city users and their creative re-construction of spaces to fit their needs and preferences are the focus of the discussion. The chapter argues that city space exists in a neutral state of equilibrium, a dynamic and active situation similar to a cone continuously rolling on a surface. It is a stable but also unstably state of everyday living with continuous transformation through different interactions among city users as well as the environments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMessy urbanism: Understanding the “other” cities of Asia
EditorsM. Chalana, J. Hou
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherHong Kong University Press
ISBN (Print)978-988-8208-33-3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


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