Hong Kong in Transition
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU
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In preparing this book I have incurred innumerable debts and I would like to thank all those who have helped me to bring it to completion. I would like to acknowledge all those who tolerated the intrusiveness of my camera lens during the five years when I was working on the day-by-day 'photo-diary' project from which this book's images are selected, and all those who encouraged me to persevere with this self-imposed task. It would be impossible for me to thank individually here everyone who has offered me encouragement with my photography...
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At midnight on 30 June 1997, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. A city which came into existence under British colonial rule and grew to be a major nodal point in the global capitalist network was belatedly to enter the post-colonial world, experiencing not independence, but absorption into a much larger entity with alien political values. From the point of view of China, the transfer of sovereignty which took place at the mid-point of 1997 was simply a moment in a larger story of selfhood regained: the reclaiming of Hong ...
The Emporium - Spaces of Commerce and Consumption
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Above all else, Hong Kong's image in the world is that of a place of trade, a quintessentially open capitalist marketplace perched at the door of China. In visual terms, this image translates into a view of a forest of tower blocks, a sort of Manhattan of the East, and indeed the tall buildings of Central - the business district of Hong Kong Island - do house the headquarters of numerous financial and trading companies. To many, Central stands for Hong Kong itself: its architectural structures feature in tourist publicity for the city, and visitors...
Sites of Power Contested - Official and Civic Space
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Commercial structures define through their size and concentration the privatized heart of Hong Kong's urban space, but within a short distance of the Central business district are to be found a number of government buildings, and in some cases these are of quite considerable vintage. Such older structures, now overshadowed for the most part by their commercial counterparts, enable us to discern something of the topography of early colonial power, as well as of political landscapes dating from more recent times....
City in Transit - Spaces of Circulation
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Hong Kong's existence as a city is owed to its natural harbour, to its usefulness as a port for trade with China. Even today that task as an economic gateway to China, as a place of transit, is a major role for Hong Kong, and in terms of traffic volume its container port counts as one of the world's busiest. The vitality of this aspect of the city's economic life is easy to monitor, since anyone can observe the constant...
Spaces of Memory - The Older Urban Neighbourhoods
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Not far from the earnestly contemporary environment of the Central business district can be found older, more settled areas. These districts stretch from the vicinity of the Central-to-Mid-Levels escalator link as far as Kennedy Town, occupying the lower land while middle-class commuter dormitories command the hillsides above. The housing in these areas is still predominantly low rise, and following a geography of privilege established in the nineteenth...
Beyond the Concrete Forest - Village and Island Life
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The days when Hong Kong was associated with manufacturing are now long gone. Plastic goods and competitivelypriced garments were crucial to the development of the city's economic life, but its cheap-labour status has disappeared and most of the production which formerly took place in Hong Kong is now undertaken in China, often just across the border in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone...
Against the Grain - Sites of Artistic Expression
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Government support for the arts in Hong Kong has generally been a rather top-down affair, a hardware rather than software approach with a major focus on developing prestige concert halls and museums. The most visible of these municipal venues for the arts are the Cultural Centre, which was completed in 1989, and the Hong Kong Museum of Art, which opened in 1991. Located side by side, along with a Space Museum, they have turned a harbourfront site in Tsim Sha Tsui into a kind of reservation for high culture...
Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2002