Infra defense hacks

What might the ways a city’s infrastructure is modified/hacked say about that context’s approach to (urban) design and pedestrians as a whole?

Shanghai’s street-level infrastructure exhibits a variety of colorful and creative ways of standing out and defending/announcing itself. In each case, these measures seem to be reacting to a perceived shortcoming in design – whether durability, visibility, or otherwise. 

Are these more about protecting the infrastructure from people, or the other way around? What do these tweaks reveal about the relative effort and ease of individual customization (post-hoc fixes) versus gaining a fuller understanding of individual contexts of use before making a design intervention? 

Compare the above post-hoc defensive measures with the apparent durability that’s been built into this fire hydrant. Seemingly so robust (or at least robust-looking) as to have outlasted the surrounding buildings it was originally meant to protect, as it now sits as a stark reminder of a past age amidst a broad sidewalk in front of a hotel.

How and why does a place’s approach to design evolve over time?

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