Back to Everyday Life: Inspiration for Urban Design in the Continuous Metropolitan Transformation of Hong Kong

By Kin Wai Michael Siu and Yihua Huang.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Everyday life, which comprises our routine habits and "milieu", is extraordinary and thus deserves our particular concern. However, in recent decades, a metropolitan transformation process has prompted Hong Kong to evolve into a global financial centre in which the interactions between ordinary people and constructed environments have been fragmentary. The rapid growth of high-rise building and rational- and economic-oriented urban planning is engulfing the specific and dynamic daily lives of city-users. The emerging image of transformation and its continuous effects on the globalisation of capitalism have triggered a critical attention regarding the quality of everyday life (i.e., the everydayness of everyday life) within rational urban planning. The everyday lives of ordinary people are usually full of a diverse variety of minor practices. A society is constituted by definite practices, thus, these practices cautiously seek equilibrium among the daedal spaces, various regimes, tangible desires and metropolitan transformation. This paper first reviews the literature on urban transformation and planning. Then, using the Wan Chai District of Hong Kong as a case study, it highlights the importance of an everyday life perspective based on the "small" but creative practices of citizens, to inspire the transforming influences of radical urban renewal. Regarding the changing environment and urban configuration, this paper further identifies some of the contradictions between government plans and the everyday practices of ordinary people to provide insight into how to achieve a more inhabitable urban environment.

Keywords: Everyday Life, Management, Policy, Transformation, Urban Design

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.129-146. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.434MB).

Prof. Kin Wai Michael Siu

Professor, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Kin Wai Michael Siu is the Leader of the Public Design Lab of the School of Design, and a professor at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research interests are in public design, design and culture, and user reception.

Yihua Huang

PhD Candidate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Yihua Huang graduated from Shanghai University. After graduation, he pursued further study in landscape architecture at National University of Singapore. During his study, he worked as the assistant architect in Singapore at the Cicada Pte Ltd. He is now studying for his Ph.D. in the School of Design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He is also working as a research assistant in the Public Design Lab; his research focuses on user-reception and hybrid urbanism in reclamation areas.