- Office for Metropolitan Architecture
- Urban Discovery
The image of Hong Kong is usually portrayed as a futuristic, mixed-use and dense city. The untold story is however in its massive housing estates, both public and private, in which 60 per cent of the people live. They divide the city up into islands of inequality, and the street forms an infrastructural barrier rather than being a connective urban tissue.
While attempting to create so called 'world-class cities' with urban spectacles and large scale capital projects, city planners often lose the connection to the smaller scale: The Street is losing ground, as the most common public space and typically the most accessible. People of all walks of life come together on the traditional street, it is where the public can gather, where democracy takes place and it forms a key location for encountering the other. What is more, walkable streets make for healthy cities. In Hong Kong, street life is rapidly disappearing with the arrival of gated communities, large-scale (re)development and the take-over of public space by private parties.
We want to highlight the story of the Street. With input from different perspectives, we re-iterate the importance of the street for people and for the city, and for the identity of both. The answer may be in heritage, in smaller scale developments or simply in the understanding and appreciation of the street. It is clear that a city-wide policy and strategy is necessary. At the same time, we will discuss bottom-up strategies for improvement of the street as a driver for economic and social development and urban equality.
All speakers are professional urban designers or planners and have a profound understanding of the economic, social, cultural and environmental issues that (re)development brings along with it. The complementary photo exhibition shows new perspectives of the street in a not-so-common context.