Title: Management City
Site: MTR Passage
“MTR passage is a semi-public space with management.” — Initial Analysis
Hong Kong is a high-rise and high-density city, facing challenge of the shortage of buildable land and pressure of the rapid urbanization rate. Therefore, underground spaces, such as MTR passage, were developed to support the city life with high-efficiency mobility, mitigating congestion and pursuing high profits. As an increasing number of people rely on the railway system, the MTR passage is a place that people frequently access, connecting the station entrance and train and crossing the paid and free area. Like “street,” it provides some necessary public services, allowing people to access resources and activities. However, the MTR passage development is significantly driven by the efficiency and financial value managed by a private corporation. Thus, the passage becomes a “semi-public space” due to these restrictions.
“How does MTR Corporation manage the MTR passage?” — Key Findings
I will mainly focus on these “management”: intangible management and management reflected on spatial design, and planning. Firstly, whether people are adults or children, MTRC identifies them as passengers, expected to pay for the MTR services. Some rules, such as no eating, and no off-masking, are proposed for them.
Management can be reflected on spatial design. If the MTR passage is a stage, all the actors have a similar movement: moving forward. Besides, the set on the stage is planned carefully in advance, aiming to operate efficiently. Walking in the tunnel-like passage resembled an endless corridor with only a few spatial changes, such as the exits. This experience is similar to a long take in movies. Indeed, this homogenous template can help MTR construct quickly with relatively low costs. In addition, during peak time, some physical barriers and markers drawn on the ground can separate passengers into two or three lines. This management further systematically constraints passengers’ behaviors: a stop and wandering are not encouraged in the passage. As a result, it is easy to get lost and ignore the surroundings because of these similarities.
Both MTR passage and street have seating facilities. However, the seat provided in the MTR passage is relatively inadequate and it is designed to make people feel a bit uncomfortable deliberately. Since most seats have used cold and hard materials. It highlights that these seating facilities’ function is to let people rest for a while rather than sleep or have a long conversation. Furthermore, passengers’ destination is planned based on the “rail+property model.” This model is a typical financial model, so MTRC usually builds a mall above the station or attracts shops open in the passage. Therefore, this management increases consumption in the service area. In case, selling and purchasing become people’s daily activities, bringing MTRC high commercial values.
Method of Producing
All of the elements in the MTR passage work together to manage the space to be efficient. Thus, I attempted to do a doc-fiction to show the reality in the passage. At the same time, I also edited and combined various “real” from different parts of the space to strengthen the theme. In order to show a complete view, a long take is frequently adopted.
“What we can learn from the research?” — Reflection and Aims
This video is inspired by the statement I read in Le Corbusier’s book: “a city is made for speed is made for success.” Similar to the MTR passages in the video, the management city becomes a machine and tool with several constraints as well. All of us are citizens living in governments’ service areas, managed by regulations, rules and invisible markers.
Aiming to accelerate urban development, decision-makers will prioritize the efficiency. In my opinion, it will be fewer typical public spaces in city. Instead, more specific function rooms may be constructed. Actually, this phenomenon is also “reasonable” during the pandemic: many public spaces are not allowed for people to enter; Some people may avoid others like the plague; people refuse to interact with each other.
However, urban space acts as a stage that creates a background for the “everyday life”. In the meantime, it also shapes urban cultures. Urban public space with a “homogenous template” may lead to homogenous culture, further resulting in “ignorance” and “disappearance” in the busy passage and this efficient and profit-driven world. That is why fewer people are willing to stop and enjoy the historic moments presented on the passage’s wall. That is why fewer people will interact with strangers when walking in the passage.
To create a vivid city, it is significant to provide a space to be “full of life,” a space created to be suitable for any interactions such as salutation, and playing instead of obligatory activities, and a space allows individuals to spend their time with no function.
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Yi KUANG, Lily 3035950292
Director: Yi KUANG, Lily
Topic: MTR Passage
*All the video’s clips and pictures are original content
Background Music: Bach Cello Suite No.1 in G major, BWV 1007 (*edited by Yi KUANG)
I chose this since Bach was really good at composing in a systematic way which would be related to my theme.
- MTR Passage in HKU Station
- MTR Passage in Central Station