Story of the Month - August 2016

Story of the Month - August 2016


CUHK-University of Manchester field trip in Hong Kong: a photo journey

Before the end of summer, a delegation from the University of Manchester visited IOFC to collaborate with CCPG and the Urban Studies Programme on a project related to ‘planning for sustainable neighbourhood change’. Before we had a full-day workshop on 31 August on various topics related to this theme, the two parties joined an ambitious field trip on 30 August visiting various parts of the territory.



We set off early in the morning to the City Gallery where the Director of Planning, a CUHK alumni, and his colleague greeted us, showing us the ‘production’ of a summer planning school for secondary students, followed by a presentation and an open and frank sharing and discussion. One thing that caught my eyes when looking at the impressive models made in a single afternoon by secondary school studentswas the prominence of high-rise buildings at a reclaimed site on Lantau Island. The drama of the image was heightened by the lush green backdrop. Another evidence of how our spatial experience shapes us and our thoughts…



Model by secondary school students

Source: Mee Kam Ng



After a dialogue with the planners, the delegation moved on to Wanchai to learn more about the Blue House, a Grade One building being renovated under the ‘Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme’. The building complex was once identified by the Urban Renewal Authority and the Housing Society to be converted to a ‘shopping facility’ but thanks to the efforts of the St. James Settlement, a local NGO established in 1949 modelling after the Settlement Movement in the UK, and the residents themselves, it will become an anchor space to serve various needs in the local community. Maria, a former resident and now a volunteer guide, led us through the neighbourhood recounting carefully and passionately the stories of her beloved community. We even enjoyed a home-made vegetarian lunch in the Community Kitchen run by the St. James Settlement.



Blue House Cluster is composed of the Blue, Yellow and Orange Houses. While renovation of the Yellow House was done, Blue House is undergoing renovation work.

Source: Mee Kam Ng



From Wanchai we moved west to observe the impacts of the extension of the MTR to Western District of Hong Kong Island. Led by the Head of the Caritas Community Centre in Sai Ying Pun and his colleague, we had a quick tour of the neighbourhood around Centre Street (where a Magic Tables event was organised) and experienced how the place has been transformed/gentrified as a result of improved accessibility. The MTR station has interesting deco that tries to capture the culture and heritage of the district.



Deco found within the Sai Ying Pun MTR Station

Source: Mee Kam Ng



We then travelled further west to the infamous Cyberport as most people only know that it is a site with luxurious housing rather than high technology development. There we visited a co-working space with extremely low rent but marvelous facilities, created for the purpose of incubating the startups.



Housing developments in Cyberport

Source: Mee Kam Ng



Co-working space in Cyberport for startups

Source: Mee Kam Ng



Facilities for co-working space users in Cyberport

Source: Mee Kam Ng



The last stop we arrived at was the West Kowloon Cultural District. Its Nursery Park has a great lush lawn, a hidden gem in the slowly developing District, a great experimental public space for families to enjoy all sorts of activities!



Nursery Park within the West Kowloon Cultural District

Source: Mee Kam Ng



In May 2017, the CUHK team will go to Manchester for a similar set of events and until then, we will have another photo journey of Manchester urbanism…




Clockwise from 7 o’clock: Jianfa Shen, Mee Kam Ng, Ren Chao, Cecilia Wong, Edward Ng, Mark Baker, Hendrik Tieben, Iain Deas, Stephen Hincks, Sylvia He, Huiwei Chen

Source: Mee Kam Ng


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