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The re-appropriation of public space Tommy Li

To all the places in the world.


The re-appropriation of public space, I felt that I am familiar with this subject because often my mind ponders on, and asks myself what else can that be? In this case can this place be of any other use? What is heaven and what is hell? By that I mean heterotopia, how one place can be labelled for one thing and used for another despite the general public, I will be writing a small documentary on Shunt and places that I have found within Edinburgh during the my studies. I have personally visited two of the 3 places that I am going to re-appropriate , I have taken photographs as aid us too giving you a more in-depth visual knowledge of the type of place and what sort of people are we dealing with. I have personally visited two of the three places that I am going to talk about and re-appropriate in turn, I have taken photos with my DLSR camera to give us a more visual in-depth knowledge towards what I am talking about, However one of the places that I cannot personally visit is in London and I have done my search online instead.

Bristol Square

The first place that I want to re-appropriate is a space in Edinburgh, known as Bristol Square, this space is outside Edinburgh University, and outside the Edinburgh student union. I would like to reappropriate this space as a skate park, for the skaters and bikers or a gathering ground for the others. Originally Bristol square is just a public space for people to talk in, no real purpose is served. However we people can change and transform one place to another, it is merely human nature to make the best use of anything that is around us. Why can Bristol square be multiple things? Well, it all depends on the culture and inside knowledge that you have, for example if you take interest in skating you would look at the world in a very different way, it may even change the way that you look as in, physically and your clothing. for the skates sake, may look physically fit, because you exercise regularly on your skate board as that is your interest and your life or may even be your sole purpose, but that all depends on how much you are into this hobby.

Bike trick

Clothing wise, You may wear base ball caps, skater shoes, which have a boarder foot base for extra grip on the skate board, likely a t-shirt because it is practical and light weight , or a hoodie because it is fashionable and keeps you warm, but that is not the main reason, because wearing clothes or having a skate board with you is a cult thing, you can instantly recognise each other whenever you passes each by each other. How can a skater see the world differently? well we humans adapt quickly, for example if you study very hard at maths, and you are good at maths and you enjoy doing maths, most of your thinking knowledge relate back to how do you do the process of the sum, or finding new and intriguing ways to do maths calculations, in this case, in the terms of a skater, they will think, How can I jump other that bench other with my skate board? I think I can jump those stairs other there if I practice a few more times and there form and onwards.


As a biker share similar traits, they practically wear the same clothing, but instead of skating on a skate board, they have bikes instead. Bikers and skate boarders can often share the same skating parks. All Skaters and bikers in Bristol square is of a young age group. I personally find the Skaters and bikers communities are friendly , and there was a lack of graffiti on the walls of Bristol Square, as graffiti is a distinctive signature of skates and bikers culture.


However I would also like to explain why I labelled Bristol Square is a gathering place for the others, over the number of years Bristol square has become well known, it has a well known reputation a place where people can find each and be used as a meeting ground for all ages of the general public. While I was at Bristol square I saw a group of people at a higher age group, smoking and drinking cider and socializing with each other, I asked for permission to take a photograph in return they wanted a bottle of cider as reward, I reluctantly refused, and my idea of a Bristol square being meeting ground was born.

Outside public toilets

I would like to argue that the space outside public toilets are used for many things, it can be a meeting ground for the jobless, not just a non space. Why would I label the space outside public toilets a meeting ground? Well often when I walk by the quarter mile I always seem to see the same group of people there, maybe because that this is their place, the place where they gather around and socialise with each other. The age group varies from 20 - 40s, culture wise, they drink cider, smokes and wear a variety of clothes, including tracky bottom and base ball caps. The space can often be littered by cigates buds, and needles. I am not saying that these people are bad people but these communities are in is sometimes dangerous and hostile.

Shunt Shunt is a space, a space under ground in a London tube station somewhere, the location of this space is discreet only members of its community knows of its location there are no signs on the entrance, and once you enter you may be asked to do a special gesture be allowed in. This space was once used as a underground wine storage tunnel but now it has been changed into a place where artists can perform underground, shunt itself is a illegal outlaw, but to the people shunt is there place, There are no required dress code and the age group of the people is roughly 18 plus, as there are Bars inside. What do they do in shunt? Shunt is a place where lots of underground artists can perform, weird arts that is not commonly accepted in everyday life, the acts may vary, and I apologise that I cannot name any. The people in shunt is friendly, if I has to name a purpose for shunt I would have to say that shunt serves as a club or theatre where alcohol is bought. The style inside shunt is very unique, they may open new rooms every week and change the setting, there are also graffiti’s and objects that have a weird origin. So shunt is a space, but what for? I would like to argue that shunt is a heterotopia, It is a place where behaviours are not accepted in everyday society, is accepted in this zone, which is another person’s safe heathen. Heterotopia is a phrase created by Michel Foucault an Ideal example of a heterotopia is Sailors on a boat.


Every space can be a different place for everyone, it is the culture and meaning behind it that matters and makes it special and unique for every individual one of us. It is the experience, not the place.

Evulation 300 words I find that this documentary I created have many weakness, I ran out of time, to create what I full wanted the most, and a longer and more descriptive definition of shunt but if you watch the video you will understand what I mean. If I had more time I could of improve the idea even more and put it onto paper. I could not get my spelling checked once again due to snow weather and lectures being off absent. The book was not printer because of the snowy weather as well. some groups of people would not let me take photo graphs of them for me to give a even more deeper visual in-depth view. and that shunt is a discreet event and cult I could not be there myself and experience it fully, the shunt content on the internet is very limited as that place is a closed zone of only letting those who know, know. I think that this piece of work is a strong piece of mind and share the thoughts on how spaces and places can be formed, myself not being in any of the genre groups I found that my descriptions was not bias in any way of form.

The re-appropriation of public space  

The re-appropriation of public space Tommy Li

The re-appropriation of public space  

The re-appropriation of public space Tommy Li