Walkability activists try out the social distancing machine in central Hong Kong

Fiona Lau of Civic Exchange tries out the Social Distancing Machine, showing the lack of space for pedestrians in Hong Kong

Mobility activists took to the streets in Transit Jam‘s “social distancing machine” this morning, to highlight what they say is the unfair distribution of street space and difficulties in maintaining Covid-19 distancing guidelines on Hong Kong’s crowded pedestrian paths.

Inspired by Waltraut Ritter of Knowledge Dialogues and built by Transit Jam editor James Ockenden, the social distancing machine keeps the user at a “safe” 1.5 metre distance from others, helping reduce transmission of respiratory droplets and dispersing viral loads from infected people. 1.5 metres was chosen in line with new government rules which require outdoor groups to maintain 1.5 metres from each other.

As the experiment showed, many pedestrian routes are unusable under a “1.5 metre distancing” guideline, with obstacles such as extended shopfronts, construction hoardings, illegally parked cars and street furniture compounding the difficulty of movement.

An activist wears the Social Distancing Machine in Hong Kong

Waltraut Ritter, Knowledge Dialogues, demonstrating the difficulties of 1.5m “social distance” in Hong Kong

Fiona Lau of Civic Exchange walking on Des Veoux Road Central with the Social Distancing Machine Even major Hong Kong roads, such as Des Voeux Road Central, proved difficult to navigate while keeping proper distance.

Watch the full Live Broadcast or check out our YouTube of the event!

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