Creating New Urban Landscapes in Asia
Chapter 9: Factories and animal depots: the ‘new’ old spaces for the arts in Hong Kong
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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