LENIN MEMORIAL PARK DENSITY OF USERS FROM NOON TO MIDNIGHT (NUMBER OF USERS/TIME OF THE DAY)
Youths must work hard to secure the space for a few of their activities with high space requirements (e.g. soccer, skateboarding, inline skating, etc). Nonetheless, overcrowding rarely leads to aggressive competition between youths and other users.
Youths approach the issue of overcrowding pragmatically understanding that it is no one’s fault and the space must be shared. This involves making compromises.
Instead of “fighting” for space, youths blend into public spaces through strategies based on a respectful awareness of the needs of others in terms of space. Youths adopt what might be called spatio-temporal choreographies .
users about sharing the space
This supports a harmonious cohabitation of youths with other public space users. Skateboarders mingle with inline skaters, both of them winding between flocks of children playing. There are vendors, soccer players, aerobic groups, and people randomly walking or standing for a chat.
The resulting tableau is marked by a relative absence of conflicts.
“People in this park are quite close to each other; we practice together and are careful to avoid conflict. People here are all very happy, friendly and social with each other.”
(interview, October 20, 2013)
Yet users have learned to cooperate and self-regulate around their shared use and formal authorities (police, security guards) are rarely needed to solve conflicts.
LOVE & COUPLES
Expressions of love in Hanoi’s public space are often the result of cramped housing. Intimacy is nearly impossible in students’s tiny dorm rooms, so they turn to public places: parks, lake promenades, libraries…
This is especially true in HOA BINH PARK:
(interview, June 17, 2014)
Some expressions of intimacy are generally accepted in public spaces:
But problems arise when they are seen kissing or cuddling on the grass. Couples create a “space of discomfort,” an area that other users want to avoid.
(Trinh Thi Trung Hoa, a psychologist cited by Huong Giang Bao Hang, 2012)
SMALL VENDING/RENTAL STALLS
ARE APPRECIATED BY YOUTHS…
They offer sporting equipment that is valued by youths, such as inline skates.
They offer places to communicate and meet new people: “When you practice sport, you also want to relax, drink something, and chat with your friends. This is also a good place to talk and make friends.“
(interview August 26 2013)
Vendors offer convenient and cheap food and drinks: “Sometimes, when we feel tired, we can have a drink or some food without going too far from the park.”
(interview June 21 2014)
ARE CRITICIZED BY YOUTHS…
They take up too much space.
They argue aggressively for that space.
They leave trash behind when their business is done.
It is openly known that some vendors bribe the guards, and are therefore granted extra privileges in how they use the park. Read more about how vendors affect the idea of ‘publicness’ of public spaces…
Motorbikes support Hanoians’ mobility and are used by all kinds of users to access public spaces. But formal and informal parking spaces for these vehicle eat up scarce recreational space.