Arts, Culture and the Making of Global Cities

Arts, Culture and the Making of Global Cities

Creating New Urban Landscapes in Asia

Lily Kong, Ching Chia-ho and Chou Tsu-Lung

While global cities have mostly been characterized as sites of intensive and extensive economic activity, the quest for global city status also increasingly rests on the creative production and consumption of culture and the arts. Arts, Culture and the Making of Global Cities examines such ambitions and projects undertaken in five major cities in Asia: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei and Singapore. Providing a thorough comparison of their urban imaging strategies and attempts to harness arts and culture, as well as more organically evolved arts activities and spaces, this book analyses the relative successes and failures of these cities. Offering rich ethnographic detail drawn from extensive fieldwork, the authors challenge city strategies and existing urban theories and reveal the many complexities in the art of city-making.

Chapter 9: Factories and animal depots: the ‘new’ old spaces for the arts in Hong Kong

Lily Kong, Ching Chia-ho and Chou Tsu-Lung

Subjects: asian studies, asian economics, asian geography, economics and finance, asian economics, cultural economics, regional economics, geography, cities, human geography, urban and regional studies, cities


Hong Kong, as we highlighted in Chapter 4, is not usually associated with thriving arts and cultural activities, and is better known instead as a place of commerce, finance and economic bustle. The West Kowloon Cultural District was meant to help redress the imbalance, but the long drawn-out impasses with the project discussed in Chapter 4 did little to improve the situation. It is in this context that we turn to other kinds of spaces used by artists and cultural groups in Hong Kong, spaces made visible not because of their iconic architecture, monument status or renowned architects but because they are ordinary spaces made into clusters of cultural activities, either wrapped up in the warp and woof of ordinary life (at Fotan) or made possible through reuse of abandoned facilities (at Cattle Depot). Unlike Beijing and Shanghai, where municipal intervention in such spaces was characterized by initial apathy or hostility but turned later to proactive development, the situation in Hong Kong is vastly different.

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