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The design of dissent: protest and urban space in Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

Anderson, Paige (2016) The design of dissent: protest and urban space in Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Democracy and public space have been inextricably linked since the agora of Ancient Greece. In modern times, spaces such as Tahrir Square and Zuccotti Park have been brought to the forefront of global media as the stages upon which their respective societies fight against their perceived oppression. In September 2014, the students of Hong Kong began protesting in Tamar Park at the Central Government Complex in Admiralty after it was determined their “free elections” would be chosen from a panel of candidates decided by China’s communist party. In the following weeks, the protest expanded to many other demographics and three occupied sites within the city-state, each with their own identity and narrative.
In my thesis, I will examine the role of architecture and space in the Umbrella Movement at Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok from three distances. First, I will look at the historical context of the spaces and their geographical network within the city. Then I will look at the urban context of each space, the protest’s relationship with their audience, and the consequences of Hong Kong’s very limited and unique public spaces. Finally, I will analyze specific spatial strategies employed by protesters and police in efforts to manipulate space in their favor. As a critique of marxist Henri Lefebvre’s concept of the “right to the city”, my analysis will look at space as an extension of economy, but also as a dynamic symbol of democracy, revealing the gravity of oppression and the conviction of the oppressed.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Anderson, Paigepander93@gmail.comPAA28
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRajagopalan,
Committee MemberGuvenc,
Committee MemberBamyeh, Mohammed
Committee MemberKnoblauch,
Date: 29 April 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 1 April 2016
Approval Date: 29 April 2016
Submission Date: 22 April 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 88
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Architectural Studies
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hong Kong, The Umbrella Movement, protest, marxist geography, urbanism, democratic space, spatial subversion, China, public space, occupation
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2016 15:28
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:33


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