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Making Hong Kong

A History of its Urban Development

Pui-yin Ho

Pui-yin Ho surveys how the social, economic and political environments of different eras have influenced the evolution of urban planning in Hong Kong. Evaluating the relationship between town planning and social change over time, this book explores how a local Hong Kong identity has emerged through its urban development. In doing so it brings a fresh perspective to urban research and provides historical context and direction for the future development of the city.
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Chapter 3: Experiencing the war (1941–1945)

Pui-yin Ho

Extract

The Japanese rejected Hong Kong’s pre-war development experience and made drastic changes to the city by turning Hong Kong into Japan’s transport hub in the Pacific region, as well as a resource supply station for its Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere. Using Hong Kong’s advantageous geographical location to develop trade was no longer the focus of the city. As opening up the city to foreign trade would make the situation difficult to control, commercial activities were completely banned. However, significant investment was made on Kai Tak Airport in Kowloon City to facilitate the transport of military equipment. To make the city self-sufficient in resources, an evacuation policy was implemented to forcibly repatriate Chinese residents to their home towns, and the forestry and agriculture industry was vigorously promoted. Those who survived the war were left destitute and homeless. The city was scarred by many indelible and painful memories of this period of history.

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