Many urban researchers and sociologists have criticized current public designs for not being able to meet new urban needs. Policymakers and designers often tackle urban problems in a piecemeal and short-sighted way. They lack in-depth studies and a comprehensive understanding of urban matters based on physical, psychological, environmental, economic, social, and cultural perspectives. The Public Design Lab of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has conducted a series of applied design research projects on public design in densely populated areas in Asian metropolitan cities, including Hong Kong. The research activities include intensive field observations, direct interviews and analysis of the existing designs. One of the core objectives of the projects is to explore and propose design solutions to meet new urban needs. Thus, applied research approach has been adopted that finally some design directions and solutions have been proposed. This paper identifies some of the key new urban needs in Asia and reviews the existing limitations and problems of street furniture design. Using a newly designed leaning rail system in Hong Kong as an example, the paper advocates that flexibility in the planning, implementation, and management of street furniture design (i.e., FlexiDesign) is important to meeting new and continuously changing urban needs.
|Keywords:||Flexible, FlexiDesign, Leaning Rail, Public Design, Street Furniture|
Professor, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong