A Public Space Designed by Taiwanese Society: Case Study of Street Dancer Occupying Taipei Expo Park


May 2023

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Occupying public space is a common action and dynamic among people. People can stay in a park occupying a bench for an afternoon or sit in a train station hallway waiting for the train. People could have many different purposes to occupy the public. Dancing in public spaces is an everyday activity in street dance communities. In the case of Taipei Expo Park, there are spots often occupied by street dancers for practicing or rehearsing their dance. While Taipei Expo Park had met multiple times of transformations by the government for different uses and policies, these public spaces are originally not designed for the activity that street dancers do. This phenomenon shows there is a gap between the design of the space and its usage by people who enter it. Under the paradigm of designing public spaces, "community-building" (社區營造 Shequ Ying Zao) is one of the most popular terms in Taiwanese discourse on the topic of urban planning. This paper seeks to understand how street dancers complicate the idea of communitybuilding by reappropriating a space when they enter it, and what this means when an urban design plan does not meet the people's needs, necessitating them to reshape the meaning of urban design. I want to raise street dancers in Taiwan as an example that challenges the meaning of this community-building interaction between the government and the people, and how this phenomenon shows the position of the dancers in the social hierarchy, which embodies the theory of Bourdieu’s cultural capital and symbolic violence.



Sociology, Social Structure and Development