Hong Kong / No Space for Gathering

Speaking in terms of public gathering space, it is very limited in Hong Kong. You may argue that there are many public parks in the urban area, but the fact is most of them are either hard to reach or filled with a lot of greenery. Take West Kowloon Cultural District as example, the park area which public can access is far away from the original city fabric. It is blocked by a high-end mega-structure (Elements) and a series of high-rise residential towers. Parks like this, developed or still developing, are all over Hong Kong. There is not many spaces can be categorized as piazza for the populace to gather. Therefore, we can easily find that most of the public gatherings were hold at Victoria Park, as it maybe the only one that can feed citizens’ need.

West Kowloon Cultural District (Headland Area) Map © 2013, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
West Kowloon Cultural District (Headland Area) Map © 2013, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
Nouva Pianta di Roma, 1748, G.B. Nolli
Nouva Pianta di Roma, 1748, G.B. Nolli

Due to historical reasons, Rome has a number of public piazzas connected with wide boulevards in its urban fabric. They are relatively more accessible and have promoted among the citizens a culture of public discussion and idea exchanging in that kind of open space. This merit of urban planning maybe one of many reasons that why western countries are more advanced in terms of democracy than Hong Kong or China. However, interestingly, Hong Kong in the recent years of urban planning, did not consider this kind of urban strategy (introducing more public piazzas). Instead, the Government push all the newly developed public parks away from the old street life and have them less convenient to access. That’s why for the past protest parades starting from Victoria Park, they end in nowhere. To be exact, after the protesters reach the Government buildings and hand over their appeals in Admiralty, they have to be dismissed because of no gathering space nearby.



3 Thoughts to “Hong Kong / No Space for Gathering”

  1. ninagaby

    The urban planning of Rome was successful with their wide boulevards connecting their various public piazzas. By drawing from this particular type of urban strategy, I was wondering whether you had any ideas or proposals for cities at a smaller scale such as Hong Kong to improve the development of public gathering spaces in the future?

  2. sctl103

    Exactly! I think it’s also because the government sold those “centralised” areas to developers for more and more housing projects. They consider building a park/gathering space within reach/centre of somewhere is a waste of space and thus completely a loss in profit. And yes usually in europe people would start demonstrations from nodes to nodes (from a piazza to another) while sadly we can only do this in streets in HK blocking transport. Other than demonstration, its a huge pain to choose a decent place to picnic or sit down and enjoy the sun/air as every single place is cramped with tall buildings and endless traffic queues.

    Thus I personally never consider the West Kowloon Project a successful one.

  3. John Thurtle

    The maps should be presented at the same scale for context.

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