REFLECTIONS Vol 2 / Issue 1 / March 2014

Page 1

Vol. 2 / Issue 1 / March 2014

Edited by Mika Savela Hendrik Tieben School of Architecture, CUHK



Vol. 2 / Issue 1 / March 2014

Edited by Mika Savela Hendrik Tieben School of Architecture, CUHK

2013 IFoU Winter School MSCUD Studios MSCUD Thesis UABB*HK


REFLECTIONS Volume 2 / Issue 1 / March 2014 Editors Mika Savela Hendrik Tieben Design Mika Savela Publication Production Mika Savela Ben MacLeod 2014 Š School of Architecture, CUHK Publisher M.Sc. in Urban Design Programme School of Architecture The Chinese University of Hong Kong AITB, Shatin, New Terriories Hong Kong SAR, China Tel: +852 3943 6583 Fax: +852 2603 5267 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior permission of the publisher. ISSN 2227-8044 (PAPERBACK) ISSN 2304-1625 (PDF) Printed by Regal Printing Ltd. Hong Kong


Hendrik Tieben (CUHK)



Mika Savela (CUHK) 7









IFoU WINTER SCHOOL Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5


Hung Shui Kiu and Shenzhen Bay 44 Urban Form and Housing 52 Transport Nodes and Public Space 60 New Towns and Community Building 68 Green Building and Neighbourhoods 78



Michela Turrin (TU Delft, Yaşar University) Vivienne Wang (IFoU, TU Delft) Maurice Hartevelt (TU Delft) Roberto Cavallo (TU Delft) Im Sik Cho (NUS)

90 94 96 100 104


Arnd Bäetzer (Univ. of St. Gallen) 112









All images and photos if not otherwise credited by the MSCUDxCUHK program.


From“Hong Kong Fantasy” to “Re-Do New Town”

Hendrik Tieben Associate Professor MSCUD Programme Director The Chinese University of Hong Kong REFLECTIONS Co-Editor RE-DO NEW TOWN: HUNG SHUI KIU Exhibition Curator

In 2012, the M.Sc. in Urban Design programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) was launched with the symposium “Sustainable Communities: Future New Towns for Hong Kong”. Since then, the question of what can be learned from Hong Kong’s new town experiences has remained a central topic of our research and teaching, complementing our studies of the city’s older districts. The parallel assessment of both urban conditions helps us to understand the different qualities and constraints of Hong Kong’s “old” and “new” areas and their hidden interrelations. This publication, as part of our urban investigation, reflects on the results of a “Winter School” workshop we organized with the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU) in January 2013 and a design studio that followed. This Winter School was the second IFoU workshop held at CUHK, five years after the IFoU Summer School “Hong Kong Fantasies”. While the first workshop in 2008 celebrated Hong Kong’s vertical growth in the year of the global financial crisis, the IFoU Winter School asked how Hong Kong’s newly planned development areas could create better homes for their residents.


Focusing on the Hung Shui Kiu New Development Area (NDA), the IFoU Winter School (and the following studio) examined an on-going project of the HKSAR Government at a time of frequent protests against the city’s NDA planning in the northeast New Territories. While there is a general critique of Hong Kong’s cramped and expensive living space, approaches to boosting housing supply face strong challenges: land supply remains limited as a way to secure high property prices for the government and tycoon-developers, environmental concerns prevent new land reclamations and the Small House Policy hinders more efficient land use in the New Territories. The pairing of Tin Shui Wai new town and Hung Shui Kiu presents a dilemma in Hong Kong’s housing sector: monotonous towers for recent migrants from Mainland China and scattered three-story “village-style” houses for longrooted rural communities and the wealthy few, surrounded by scraps of containers piled up on fertile agricultural land. While the land policy of the New Territories is a hot topic in Hong Kong, the general question of how to plan new towns also presents an opportunity for this part of Asia to reflect on the way

we want to live in the future. The discussion as to how to design an “ideal city” continued after the IFoU workshop, selected by Colin Fournier, our colleague and winter school mentor, as the main theme of the 2013 Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture (Hong Kong), offering a wider platform for public debate. The learning approach of the IFoU Winter School, with students and teachers from nine international universities working together in mixed teams, created a tremendous energy and became the catalyst for our urban design studio. We have also embarked on another studio, in which our study of Hung Shui Kiu extends to villages under forces of rapid urbanization in Macau and Shenzhen. Last but not least, I want to thank all the mentors and students of the IFoU Winter School for their tireless effort and team spirit, as well as Mika Savela for his candid editorial work.


Shifting Platforms

Mika Savela Architect PhD Candidate The Chinese University of Hong Kong REFLECTIONS Co-Editor RE-DO NEW TOWN: HUNG SHUI KIU Exhibition Curator & Designer

In architecture and design education, displaying your work and the processes involved seem like a common practice. In these disciplines, we are used to the idea of our analysis, ideas, sketches and subsequent designs being shown to others. It is not just about seeing, but about showing and putting things on display. The main interface of this production and the actual situations where students and teachers gather, are the presentations, tutorials, critiques and even exhibitions, created today in various techniques and media. However, displaying (and reflecting on) the work faces more challenges when put on show for outside audiences. It quickly becomes obvious that shifting platforms can change the relevance of our findings. While acts of design, display and critique are integral to the architectural work, in the end, exhibits of such practices are also an aesthetic framework (even a product of contemporary culture) and as such open for everyone. As already mentioned in the preface on the previous pages, the M. Sc. in Urban Design program at CUHK has since its beginnings had strong interest in Hung Shui Kiu, a district under current government planning in Hong


Kong’s New Territories. Many activities and design studios have produced work related to new towns, urban villages in addition to studying how strategic new centralities could be planned and designed. Thus, for the 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (UABB*HK), emphasizing the concept of an ideal city, Hung Shui Kiu and the theme of new towns seemed like a natural topic (and title) for a showing created by the program.

Kong and neighbouring Shenzhen, the issue of urban borders is ever-present (it literally was the biennial’s main thematic for 2013). Besides the obvious geographic or regional aspects of borders, this book published as part of the urban design program’s REFLECTIONS series and the accompanying work exhibited in the UABB*HK, treads also on the borders of many different platforms. And the fact remains – it’s difficult to reach one platform from another.

But, in producing the exhibition and designing this very book, it became clear that regardless of the vast amount of material and many visual snippets amassed on Hung Shui Kiu, there was no straightforward way of featuring individual projects, hundreds of Power Point slides, design proposals or thesis work. While the efforts had produced a lot of things for display in their own contexts, the work would not always convey its message on another platform. Still, knowing that future projects in the program would tackle similar themes, an attempt in creating a visual documentary or a “workbook-like” mid-review seemed like a good effort in communicating the work forward.

While this publication only offers a glimpse into the total work done by students and teachers over the past year, it must be admitted that it still remains a superficial take on its actual subject. An exhibition in a biennial is not yet a project in the urban scale. A book produced in a higher education program might not reach audiences beyond itself. Further challenges lie in developing these platforms to include more people and finding a way into the level of locality. However, by shifting and expanding the operational field of educational programs also into platforms of publishing, creative practices, exhibiting and reflecting both in the conventional and the experimental territories, some new possibilities in catalyzing events and scenarios may well become available.

In the context of the Bi-City Biennale in Hong



12 Kwun Tong Ferry Pier, venue of the 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (Hong Kong).






MSCUD×CUHK Program launch

The School of Architecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong launched a M.Sc. in Urban Design programme in autumn 2012. Since its conception, under the theme of “Sustainable Communities”, the programme has been following the development of Hung Shui Kiu with several interwoven projects. In March 2012 a symposium at CUHK kicked off the programme with local and international keynote speakers, continuing with the launch of a

IFoU Winter School

publication and event series REFLECTIONS as a platform for recording and disseminating the multiple views formulated in context of the programme with the first issue focusing on Hung Shui Kiu and the proceedings of the symposium. In January 2013, the programme organized a major international workshop event in collaboration with the IFoU (International Forum on Urbanism) network. Over 120 participants from 9 Asian and European universities



MSCUD HSK Studio 1

MSCUD Thesis

studied the Hung Shui Kiu development in various scale, detail and focus. The theme was further continued in the design studio work of the urban design programme in the spring term 2013, with CUHK professors Colin Fournier and Sujata Govada. For the 2013 BiCity Biennale Of Urbanism \ Architecture (Hong Kong), the programme produced an exhibition to review the information gathered so far, as well as this special edition of REFLECTIONS, drawing from conclusive thoughts,

UABB*HK Exhibition

MSCUD HSK Studio 2

ideas and writing about new towns in Hong Kong and elsewhere, collected from various actors related to the programme’s work, the IFoU network and beyond.












The Hung Shui Kiu New Development Area (HSK NDA) will, according to current HKSAR Government plans, become Hong Kong’s biggest new urban development for the next decade with up to 218,000* inhabitants, including the existing population. As a comparison, city of this size could perhaps elsewhere in the world be a significant regional hub, with rich cultural life and even some international recognition. In Hong Kong, new towns with even larger populations have not traditionally been considered centers or hubs, but merely satellite cities built mainly for housing and with basic necessities in mind. However, a future development of this scale should not only be an exercise in normative urban design or housing production, but truly a moment of reflection about the ideals we are imposing on future cities, and how the previous attempts in creating modern cities have often also failed. Hung Shui Kiu’s sleepy old villages, generic mixture of activities, container yards and wastelands look across the neighbouring new town of Tin Shui Wai, infamously dubbed as a the “City of Sadness”. While perhaps distant from the bustling economic centres of Hong Kong, Hung Shui Kiu lies only a short distance from Shenzhen. Far more than the skyscrapers in the business districts, this plain “realness”, the mixture of activities and rural-like existence is the scene of many critical questions of a Hong Kong urbanism today.

* Figure stated in the Hung Shui Kiu New Development Area Planning and Engineering Study Stage 2 Community Engagement Digest, July 2013. Planning Department, HK SAR Government. Map on opposite page depicts the proposed study area boundaries for the development. From Hung Shui Kiu New Development Area, Revised Final Planning and Engineering Study - Investigation Stage 1, Community Engagement Report, July 2013. Planning Department, HK SAR Government.



Lamma Island

Wah Fu


Victoria Harbour


HA Exhibition Centre Yau MaTei Tsim Sha Tsui

Hong Kong Island

Ngau Tau Kok

Lam Tin


Deep Bay

Shenzhen Special Economic Zone

Lau Fau Shan

Tin Shui Wai Hung Shui Kiu

HK SAR Boundary Line

New Territories



Tolo Harbour







Hung Shui Kiu should become a site for a real urban experience – not an isolated Hong Kong suburb, but a contemporary form of urbanism. If this is to happen, how could the area offer more diversity and vitality than the new towns of the previous decades? How can it become a place, instead of a project site between other places? How could its planning contribute to Hong Kong’s future relationship to Shenzhen and the Pearl River Delta? And would achieving all this require a change in our thinking about new towns? While the familiar topics of density, diversity, sustainability, accessibility, transport, housing, services and public spaces are all essential for new urban developments, equal in value is the achieved quality of urban life. If we really aim to RE-DO a new town, Hung Shui Kiu should be a well-studied case in reconsidering, what really is the ideal density, mixture of green and built, farmland

and highway, malls or corner shops, production and creativity? What is the ideal level of sustainability and at what cost? What is real diversity and accessibility? Furthermore, it should evaluate what uncharted options exist for housing the projected 200,000 inhabitants from all walks of the society. It should ask for more options in urban living than what is currently available. We should also ask if it is still possible or even desirable to plan entirely new cities, or should an ideal city simply be allowed to form by itself with a much longer timeframe. As urbanism today is gearing towards more participatory approaches – furthering away from the fixed parameters design – planning should also address issues beyond housing and transporting people. Again, the planning of Hung Shui Kiu should challenge the previous attempts for a ready-made ideal communities and urban


typologies and consider the ideal city not as a utopian end-result but a process allowing for a multitude of voices, unpretty things, unplanned scenarios and unknown solutions in bettering the urban life. Only by achieving this, can Hung Shui Kiu reach beyond the urban edge into a new form of a new town.

Major Land Use under Preliminary Outline Development Plan. Pages from the Hung Shui Kiu New Development Area Planning and Engineering Study Stage 2 Community Engagement Digest, July 2013. Planning Department, HK SAR Government.







RE-DO NEW TOWN INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON URBANISM (IFoU) WINTER SCHOOL 2013 THE CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG Participating Universities Beijing University of Technology Chinese University of Hong Kong Chonnam National University Delft University of Technology National University Singapore National Taiwan University Sungkyunkwan University Seoul UPC Barcelona Yaşar University Mentors from CUHK Prof. Colin Fournier Prof. Daniel Pätzold Prof. Hendrik Tieben Prof. Sujata Govada Prof. TSOU Jin-Yeu Prof. Minjung Maing Prof. YEUNG Kwong-fai Alfred Dr. LIU Biao MO Kar Him Mika Savela Guest mentors Roberto Cavallo (TU Delft) Im Sik Cho (NUS) Maurice Harteveld (TU Delft) HUI Xiaoxi Sebastian (BJUT & IFoU Coordinator) HU Bin (BJUT) KANG Min-jay (National Taiwan University) Seçkin Kutucu (Yaşar University, Izmir) LIAO Hanwen (BJUT) Michela Turrin (TU Delft/Yaşar University) Ronald Wall (IHS) Uoo Sang You (Chonnam University) Estanislau Roca Blanch (UPC Barcelona) Francesco Rossini (UPC Barcelona) Jürgen Rosemann (NUS & IFoU Chairman) WANG Chiuyuan Vivienne (TU Delft & IFoU General Director) Guests and Speakers Arnd Bätzner (University of St.Gallen) Amy YM CHEUNG (HKSARG Planning Department) Benny CHOW (CUHK) Sylvia HE (CUHK) LIU Heng Doreen (CUHK) John NG (HKGBC) NG Mee Kam (CUHK) Tommy Leung (CUHK) Linda Vlassenrood (International New Town Institute) YIU Chin Steve (MTR Corporation)


IFoU WINTER SCHOOL 2013 ORGANIZATION International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU) School of Architecture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong M.Sc. in Urban Design Programme / CUHK M.Sc. in Advanced Environmental Planning Technologies (AEPT) / CUHK --RE-DO NEW TOWN: HUNG SHUI KIU 再造新城: 洪水橋 – EXHIBITION 2013 BI -CITY BIENNALE OF URBANISM \ ARCHITECTURE (HONG KONG) Exhibition Curators Mika Savela Hendrik Tieben Design Mika Savela Team Ben MacLeod Mo Kar Him Mathias Thøfner --RE-DO NEW TOWN: QUESTIONS FROM HUNG SHUI KIU REFLECTIONS 2 (1) – PUBLICATION Editors Mika Savela Hendrik Tieben Design Mika Savela Publication Production Mika Savela Ben MacLeod Guest Contributors Roberto Cavallo (TU Delft) Im Sik Cho (NUS) Maurice Harteveld (TU Delft) Michela Turrin (TU Delft/Yaşar University) WANG Chiuyuan Vivienne (TU Delft & IFoU General Director) Arnd Bäetzner (University of St. Gallen) with IFoU Winter School 2013 students MSCUDxCUHK students 2013






40 Final reviews at the IFoU 2013 Winter School, 1 February 2012.



Above, 2013 IFoU Winter School Introduction day. Below, working with the large workshop model.

43 Post-workshop REFLECTIONS event with presentations related to new towns with concluding roundtable discussions.

44 Five groups at work in the IFoU Winter School.



1 Hung Shui Kiu and Shenzhen Bay The group studied the changing regional relationship between Hung Shui Kiu and Shenzhen. In the past, Tin Shui Wai, the adjacent new town to HSK, became concentrated with low-income migrant families. Long distances to other urban areas and the social homogeneity ultimately created a whole range of problems. However, on the opposite site of Shenzhen Bay developed one of Shenzhen’s most wealthy districts. With new and fast cross-boundary links, the relationship between both cities is transforming fundamentally giving a range of new opportunities for both cities and their new urban areas. The bay, currently suffering of heavy pollution, could become a joint asset in strategic location.


Mentors Uoosong Yoo Chonnam Univeristy Wang Chiu-yuan Vivienne Technical University of Delft / IFoU Mika Savela The Chinese University of Hong Kong Tsou Jin Yeu The Chinese University of Hong Kong Alfred Yeung The Chinese University of Hong Kong Students Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) Fang Bo,An Xing, Zhao Rui, Wang Shanshan The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Huen Ming Yeung, Yu Qinlei, Chen Yiru, Chu Puihang, Fan Mengmeng, Gao Chaochengfeng, Lai Ho Cheung, Liu Lin National Taiwan University (NTU) Lin Guan-nian, Lin Jun-Jay, Pan Xinrong National University of Singapore (NUS) Feng Xinyu, Jiang Zhonghan, Zhang Hong, Liu Qile, Ma Wei, Wen Cai, Zhang Tianjiao Technical University of Delft (TUD) Egle Varapeckyte Tsinghua University (THU) Liu Yang


New Towns • The Stories of New Towns • The Modes of New Towns Regional comparison SZ-HK • Political-Planning Context • Economic Context Strategic Proposals • Scenario 1: Mega-event • Scenario 2: Industry Event



Above, piles of oyster shells at the seaside village of Lau Fau Shan. Below, international shipping company’s container in the Hung Shui Kiu storage yards.


1. Big event can be a turning point of the development process. It will inject new vigor into the area and give the region more possibilities to explore a new field. 2. A good transportation systems can bring better opportunities. The internal transportation and external traffic should be perfectly connected. 3. Public service facilities are the guarantee of good life. These facilities can not only meet the requirements of residents, but also give people a sense of belonging. 4. From the three generation of new town development experience, Hung Shui Kiu should provide employment opportunities for local people by small and medium-sized enterprises instead of industry. Avoid negative effects of industry on living. 5. Mix functions and improve the quality of public service facilities. 6. Seek for regional characteristics of Hung Shui Kiu.





2 Urban Form and Housing The development of Hung Shui Kiu is inherently related to the concept of new towns and their history, yet possibly representing a new take on the subject. The group studied the possibilities of urban form of a new town to be created today. A balanced mixture of uses is needed for any urban area. The challenge remains if the development will only focus on the new urban expansion areas within the Hung Shui Kiu area, or also contribute to improving and rehabilitating the living conditions of the existing communities within the site.


Mentors Jurgen Rosemann National University of Singapore / IFoU Sebastian Hui Beijing University of Technology / IFoU Colin Fournier The Chinese University of Hong Kong Students Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) Zhou Jin, Ning Jian, Yang Libo The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Ge Jianliang Mac, Lee Tsz Hang Tom, Xu Mengting, Evan Chen, Tsui Tik Man, Ji Hongkun, Yang Qi Tomas, Liu Shiyi Heather, Stephy Deng, Yaşar University Mira Conci, Liviu Teodorescu, National Taiwan University (NTU) Liu Hong-nong, Wu Zhao-hui, Hu Hao-wei, Aveline Oh Chia May National University of Singapore (NUS) Sohanna Akter, Stefanie Pangestu Tsinghua University (THU) Rosita Samsudin, Melissa Widjaja, Wang Chuan, Guo Hao,


HYBRICITY Scenarios • Central Hybrid • Housing Hybrid • Natural Hybrid


Housing Hybrid


Natural Hybrid





3 Transport Nodes and Public Space The theme dealt with the urban design issues related to rail transit nodes. While the MTR will easily connect HSK to other areas of Hong Kong, a transportation network is needed within the area itself, generating opportunities in reshaping the urban space. New public transport nodes, will generate a new layer of public life, raising spatial questions concerning the redesign of public space, the improvement of outdoor environments and the defragmentation of urban morphology.


Mentors Maurice Harteveld Technical University of Delft Roberto Cavallo Technical University of Delft Estanislaus Roca Blanch UPC Barcelona Francesco Rossini UPC Barcelona and Tongji University Daniel Pätzold The Chinese University of Hong Kong Hendrik Tieben The Chinese University of Hong Kong Students Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) Dai Yan, Liao Wenhua, Zeng Ruizhi The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Ben Macleod, Jia Zimu, Ke Yuhong, Lee Wu Shing, Sheng Fenglei, Tang Zhengze, Wu Minghui, Zhang Zhenhang National Taiwan University (NTU) Chang Huaiyuan, Lee Chi Lap National University of Singapore (NUS) Ji Ie Jung, Nikita Snarma, Pingkan Patricia Rondonuwu, Tan Kim Leng, Wang Wei Hsun, Yew Yingxu Technical University of Delft (TUD) Beryl Boonzaaier Tsinghua University (THU) Carolina Setiawan Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) Blanca Mora-Rey Sanchez, Karla Aurea Peralta Paredes Yaşar University Ceren Nizam


TRANSPORTATION AND PUBLIC SPACE LOGISTICS Relocation, Usage Maximization NEW CENTRALITY Transit Oriented Connection and Public Space VILLAGE STRUCTURE Sustainable Green Space RIVER SHAPE Multi-functional Water Space LIGHT RAIL New Accessible Network and Nodes LEISURE SPACE Well-connected Multi-scale Leisure Space







4 New Towns and Community Building While Hung Shui Kiu will be a brand new urban project, it will on the other hand become a part of the older existing village communities in the viscinity. These communities around Hung Shui Kiu form an important framework for the new town development in the area. Another line of study within the sub-theme was the existing neighbourhoods of Tin Shui Wai, often portrayed as an example of the social problems related to new town communities.


Mentors Kang Min Jay ational Taiwan University Im Sik Cho National University of Singapore Seçkin Kutucu Yaşar University Sujata Govada The Chinese University of Hong Kong Students Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) Wang Xuejiao, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Yu Xiaoyue Eva, Zhang Yiqi Jackie, Zheng Jingyu, Peter So, Zhang Qin Nan, Zhou Jinxian Tony, Zhu Yi, Ma Li, Bobo Yang Chonnam University Jiyeong Kang Sungkyunkwan University Javier Navarro National Taiwan University (NTU) Yang Ze-jun, Su Ying-chen Yaşar University Elifnur Özcan, Ecem Karaağaç National University of Singapore (NUS) Ankur Bhooshan Choudhury, Pathik Nimishkumar Gandhi, Mayur Manohar Vichare, Syed Atiqur Rahman, Li Yuhan, Wang Shanshan Technical University of Delft (TUD) Juan Azcarate Tsinghua University (THU) Vivien Andrayani Halim ,


Integration of Existing and New Communities Bridging Social Economy River for Recreation Social Institutions Health and Well-being Livable Space Conservation and Tourism









5 Green Building and Neighbourhoods Today the planning of new urban areas should also mean the comprehensive design of “green� neighbourhoods. There are many sides to the task of creating a sustainable urban living environment. From detailed architectural solutions, to large massing, from public policies to individual citizens actions and from public transport to walking and bicycling, the sub-theme looked into developing options for Hung Shui Kiu.


Mentors Michela Turrin National Taiwan University / Yaşar University Liao Hanwen Beijing University of Technology Hu Bin Beijing University of Technology Minjung Maing The Chinese University of Hong Kong Benny Chow The Chinese University of Hong Kong Students Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) Cui Yuan, Dang Rong, Wang Zhenhai The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Ou Yu Heng, Wu Yang, Chan Chun Hong Felix, Kenneth Chan, Yao Ying Lydia, Yu Lu Lucy, Zhang Chao, Li ChenYang, Tina Wang National Taiwan University (NTU) Gao Xiao-ting National University of Singapore (NUS) Zhao Sheng Chonnam National University Jinsung Kim Yaşar University Pelin Aykutlar, Mert Gültekin, Ege Islekel Tsinghua University (THU) Diana Thamrin,






86 Lau Fau Shan.




The MTR bridge of West Rail Line, running through the landscape of Hung Shui Kiu.


Looking back, we asked our past collaborators and partners to reflect on their experiences of visiting Hung Shui Kiu, the Hong Kong New territories and contemporary relevancy of new towns. Here are some questions and answers from the IFoU Winter School 2013 mentors.




1. What were your impressions visiting the current situation and planned development in Hung Shui Kiu and Tin Shui Wai? 2. Can you relate to these issues in your own country or current location? 3. What about new towns as the ideal city, are they still relevant?



Michela Turrin PhD, Lecturer YaĹ&#x;ar University / Delft University of Technology Turkey / Netherlands 1. What were your impressions visiting the current situation and planned development in Hung Shui Kiu and Tin Shui Wai? 2. Can you relate to these issues in your own country or current location? 3. What about new towns as the ideal city, are they still relevant? 1. Among the possible perspectives from which Tin Shui Wai can be approached, the working-group of our students debated the one of small scale (Theme 5 – Green Building and Neighbourhoods). Specifically, the relation (or missing relation) between indoor and outdoor spaces is the focal point of this conversation; and particular importance is attributed to the relation between buildings and ground. These relations include reflections on the collective use of semi-outdoor spaces (which may act as social attractors, at various scales); and on their potentials for climatic sustainability. According to this latter point, semi-outdoor spaces are regarded like areas acting as passive climate controllers, often constituting occasions for improving the climatic sustainability

of the surroundings. This aspect leads also to tackling the ground of architectural concepts, as the combination of technical and social value is known to be an architecturally fascinating occasion. With respect to this, the vernacular architecture developed in the past in nearby Chinese villages offers substantial examples, some aspects of which may result mostly conflicting with the principles of a compact city like Hong Kong. Tin Shui Wai raises this clash to its extreme. When experiencing Tin Shui Wai, the lack of spaces designed to be common areas and passive climate controllers appears high. As students unanimously reported, buffers between residential units and surrounding seem erased by the maximization of square meters for dwellings. The vertical distribution of semioutdoor areas is extremely rare; and residential skyscrapers often have a blind ground-floor, hosting technical appliances. Whether this aspect makes sense or not in terms of monetization is not discussed in this conversation; this is a topic for which various models should be evaluated. Differently, emphasis is given here to an open question about chances for new design principles. Already when visiting Tin Shui Wai, the students debated the current ar-


River-edge of Tin Shui Wai. Photos by Seรงkin Kutucu (left) and Michela Turrin (right).

chitectural models of compactness. Is vertical repetition of similar floor-plans (equal to each other regardless of their location in height and orientation) the only possible model? Is there a viable way to combine the logic of compact cities and the integration of semi-outdoor spaces? Confronting this possibility implies also considering the current contrast between the existing situation and the re-appropriation of common outdoor and semi-outdoor spaces claimed by the residents. This appears evident in the space between buildings, and even more on the edges between building-blocks and remaining green areas. Bridges and riverbanks are invaded by drying laundry and other spontaneous signs of daily activities, which may not find place within the planned built environment. This observation (common among all students) falls into the usual debate on high-density vs. lower density (i.e. through clusters, integration, alternation) and is not new, but keeps deserving strong attention, both for Tin Shui Wai and for the new development of Hung Shui Kiu. Currently, Hung Shui Kiu offers occasions for integrating this attitude in and in-between buildings. Despite proliferation of issues, the students were intrigued by the social cohe-

sion shown in villages; the tissue of the built environment resulting from populated common spaces; sheltered semi-outdoor areas hosting daily activities; the community actively taking care of greenery and small cultivations. Despite these observations were made in a short time, deep social and climatic mechanisms are embedded in these in-between places. The new development has an enormous responsibility over these occasions, which may be either reinforced or lost. 2. With the students, we arrived in Hong Kong from Izmir (Turkey), to which this reflection refers. Despite I cannot claim deep expertise about the local dynamics of the Turkish built environment, some analogies (as well as differences) emerged rapidly. The large interventions for social housing lead by Toki (Housing Development Administration of Turkey) may offer the most immediate example, as relatively high-rise towers for affordable dwelling are dominating portions of new developments. In contrast, spontaneous and informal dwelling still expands in low-rise urban areas, where security in case of earthquakes becomes now an undelayable priority and often leads to demolition for reconstruction. In both cases,


Students interviewing local roof-farmers (left). Photos of plant drying and urban farming by Michela Turrin (right).

construction proliferates. In a context of different urgencies and mechanisms, some of the matters faced by the population are comparable to the ones the students detected in Tin Shui Wai and foreseen in Hung Shui Kiu. The use of semi-outdoor spaces as social attractors and points of cohesion is grounded in the collective expectations of local residents; and may not be lost in the new developments, though changed in its nature. At the contrary, in new developments little attention seems reserved to the impact semi-outdoor spaces have on the local climate. Both aspects include much more than green areas only, but (even when cleared of the symbolic and political connotes assumed after the protests in summer 2013) the re-appropriation and importance attributed by a large portion of the population to the green areas in the cities is a meaningful indicator. 3. As often debated, new towns offer opportunities as well as challenges. Many examples have shown the difficulties in matching ideal models with the collective and individual sense of belonging and place attachment, and with the satisfaction in using the built environment. This does not mean ideal models and their possible development into new towns are neg-

ative a-priori, while instead ungrounded visions might be more dangerous. Nowadays, ideal models have increasing means to ground their development into real needs and willingness of local communities, ranging from hard to soft requirements. This regards means for (re)designing the built environment as well as means of multi-directional communication. Concerning the first aspect, a key reflection is proposed about the interdisciplinarity of the process. If in the past ideal models were always built on the basis of interdisciplinary factors, nowadays the spectrum of disciplines contributing to models and projects for new towns may (and should) be broadened even more. Enhancing interdisciplinarity is suggested to be a crucial direction. Handling the (unavoidably increased) complexity of the process is eventually supported also by computational methods and digital tools, which additionally facilitate the simulation of future scenarios. In this respect, new models and new towns can be foreseen as result of a larger collaborative process, in which a broad variety of expertise converges. Regarding the second aspect (multi-directional communication), relevant opportunities are offered to participatory processes. While much has been


Examples of blind ground-floors in Tin Shui Wai. Photos by Michela Turrin.

said already on participatory design at urban and neighbourhood levels, attention is given here also to the smaller scale, with the chance of a multidirectional (bottom-up included) integration of low-tech and high-tech architectural and engineering innovations. This includes the (well-known) need of re-interpreting local indoor and outdoor habits and related means, and the (again well-known) option of integrating local people’s experiences in the decision making process. However, a locally-grounded model of new towns may acknowledge also the relevance of participation in the production process, not only in case of standard construction but also for experimental hubs of innovation. A final note regards the enthusiasm of the students in exploring this chance, which they investigated by acknowledging the difficulties of large scale interventions (such as skyscrapers and large buildings), and focusing on the potentials of participatory innovation and realization in small structures. In this respect, students engaged in re-thinking the small scale of ground-floor interventions in-between buildings and in general of semi-outdoor structures as occasions for integrating technological innovation for sustainability and low-tech local tra-

dition, which the residents were glad to share. Their committed brainstorms further suggest that much can open up in this direction.



Vivienne Chiu-Yuan Wang IFoU Executive Director PhD, Researcher Delft University of Technology Netherlands

1. What were your impressions visiting the current situation and planned development in Hung Shui Kiu and Tin Shui Wai? 2. Can you relate to these issues in your own country or current location? 3. What about new towns as the ideal city, are they still relevant?

1. The new town development concerns a long-term framework of development which demands the social integration as well as the spatial construction from a planned attitude. The development of Tin Shui Wai represents the previous generation of new towns in Hong Kong. It demonstrates the importance of the social-spatial integration concerning new towns which needs not only long-term planning but also a reflexive adjustment of the bottom-up participation of the tenants and people who are using the space on daily basis. In the case of Hung Shui Kiu, a newly developed new town should avoid the result of social stigma and increase the spatial diversification. 2. The new town development in the Netherlands is embedded into a less critical socialspatial context with regard to the scale and scope of the population pressure. Never the less, questions on how to enhance the social integration are crucial as well. Being embedded into a long-lasting tradition of social welfare system, the current new town development in the Netherlands is moving towards a more market-oriental development. In comparison with the Hong Kong new towns, the development in the Netherlands is paying


more attention to the differentiation of urban functions instead of mainly focusing on the housing provision. This is a valuable experience for the further new town development of Hong Kong. 3. How to define the concept of ideal city is incoherent and vague. However, it is positive that the new town development can be a potential urban model in accommodating the increasing urbanization and urban population, in particular in fast urbanizing countries and regions. Importantly, to regard the social-politicaleconomical context of any country and region can help to develop the progressive mechanism for future new town development. Afterall, the new town development is a longterm evolution of a social project, and the social-spatial integration is one of the most important criteria to sustain the living condition of people and to enable the political stability and economic development.



Maurice Harteveld PhD MSc Delft University of Technology Netherlands

1. What were your impressions visiting the current situation and planned development in Hung Shui Kiu and Tin Shui Wai? 2. Can you relate to these issues in your own country or current location? 3. What about new towns as the ideal city, are they still relevant? 1. On 24 January 2013, I was standing under a big tree on a little square in Lo Uk Tsuen (羅屋 村). Its trunk was protected by a small circular stone wall and in front of it, yet still under its crown, incense was burning in a small matching stone censer. A few kids were playing, a lady was doing her laundry, and several persons passed by. It looked like the heart of one of the villages or ‘tsuens’ of Hung Shui Kiu. It also acted as its entrance as it was positioned at its edge. The houses around were extended with all kinds of annexes and extra levels. On the streets, residents appropriated space with pot plants and a variety of other things. The density was clearly quite high and the urban space felt like a living room. An old-school figure ground analyses wouldn’t give us much

open space. When I walked beyond the tree, street-like corridors led me to the next tsuen. Here in Tung Tau (東頭村), built structures and urban spaces more or less looked the same, but a small monumental temple place had adopted the communal role. People sitting under a line of trees aside looked at me with questioning eyes. They scanned who I was and why on earth my students and I were making pictures of this space. Walking out again, I faced huge piles of containers, rusty remaining relics of Modern society. At its backcloth the residential high-rise of Tin Shui Wai. 2. Decades have been past in which high-rise buildings, slabs and long horizontal volumes were the designer’s universal toolbox for many problems. Standardisation and normalisation went hand in hand with forms intending to follow functions which society was never aware of. Dwelling became a ‘residential function’ and a neighbourhood a ‘residential area’. Work was somewhere else. Small scale urban space was departed to serve the increase of mobility between all those areas and in the newly labelled ‘infra-structure’ the human scale seemed lost. In the past, my university was one of the hot spots of the international scene of the High


Above. The square and the big tree in Lo Uk Tsuen village. Illustration by Maurice Harteveld.

Modernists. In a fast temp, my country had been transfigurated in a nation-wide utopia of functional mapping, in which professionals and politicians were pointing out areas for massive urban development with ditto architecture. There was not a single square metre without a land use plan. It has brought us a million benefits: Fine houses, clean and healthy workplaces, places to spend leisure time and the best transport imaginable at those days. But – as a figure of speech – in time we discovered that the city isn’t a machine nor are people gears. The Modern ideal wasn’t so simple in reality. People do not move on assembly lines in large open spaces. In the past decades, we have made many alterations in designing the contemporary city. The use of the city is considered as highly complex involving innumerable actors. The rediscovered importance of urban space is to allow interaction, blurring and multiplicity. We are loosing the reins while trying to ride the city and allow the unexpected in our urban design. These are the most recent lessons learned in Delft. 3. Hong Kong is still coping with a large influx of people. By matter of course, new urban areas are needed. With the proximity of the Yuen

Long and Kong Sham highways, Hung Shui Kiu is designated to be the next development area. Add to this a stop of a proposed high speed railway between Kowloon, Shenzhen and Guangzhou and possible other express rail links within the territories: With plans or without, the area will urbanise. The question is ‘how?’. Nowadays, the city of tomorrow passed by and the real is the ideal. What we see in the tsuens is close to what ultimately we may see in Tin Shui Wai too. Despite its functional if not mechanical design, people recreate the human scale simply because they interact, gather and use urban space in many ways. Alteration, appropriation and home-grown redesign can be the essence of the next ‘new’ town. Bleu print design does not exist as long as people are present. There are always urban patterns to continue on. We have to follow ancient trails beyond the tree and the temple. They will become paths to serve socio-spatial change continuously in the city as long as professional design ideologies do not block the road.


Above. Sketching Hung Shui Kiu. Illustration by Maurice Harteveld.

Opposite page. Junkyards against the public housing in Tin Shui Wai. Photo by Maurice Harteveld.




Roberto Cavallo Associate Professor Delft University of Technology Netherlands

1. What were your impressions visiting the current situation and planned development in Hung Shui Kiu and Tin Shui Wai? 2. Can you relate to these issues in your own country or current location? 3. What about new towns as the ideal city, are they still relevant? 1. The entire area of the Hong Kong New Territories is an extremely interesting reality to learn from. What might have only been a brief overview, particularly to the eyes of most passing through travellers, the New Territories offer a particular reading of Hong Kong actuality. Here you can still be faced with unspoiled nature or visit original settlements, experiencing some unimaginable authentic features of Hong Kong. In the meantime it may be difficult to live through all this ignoring the presence of the metropolis, as marked by the tall buildings of Tin Shui Wai and, at the horizon, by the impressive, but in a way also spooky, skyline of Shenzhen. These at the first glance diverging characteristics of this area are in a way representative,

almost typical marks of Hong Kong. In fact the real Hong Kong can be viewed as the arrangement of several and often conflicting facets, so that next to the busy and extremely dense city or the impressive harbour, you can still run into original villages and undamaged nature. Unfortunately this picture of Hong Kong is constantly under threat. Although the demographic figures confirm a definitely low birth rate - not considering the children born in Hong Kong to woman residing in Mainland China - the lack of affordable housing and the high prices of real estate are among the main reasons keeping pushing for new developments. Therefore, looking at its geographic position very close to Mainland China, is definitely not a surprise that the whole area of the New Territories will have to be the theatre of new plans. Within this framework, the main question would be how to deal with the new development issues while trying preserving some original features of the area. This was also one of the main questions put on the table during the IFoU Winter School at the School of Architecture CUHK. Particularly the area of Hung Shui Kiu, with the municipal planning machine


New Territories outdoor activites. Photo by Roberto Cavallo.

reaching a quite advanced and concrete stage, was taken as study area for the Winter School workshop. Hung Shui Kiu is really a manysided area; here you can find intact nature, preserved coastal zone, original settlements but also scattered warehouses, all kinds of utilitarian buildings and a big container terrain. Looking at the latest zoning plan for the area, the Preliminary Outline Development Plan, it seems that for the time being the municipality will break a lance for the preservation of most original villages, concentrating the majority of the new high density housing close by the Tin Shui Wai area. But what will the real link be between Hung Shui Kiu and Tin Shui Wai areas? Next to it, what will it really mean having villages at this side and dense new housing at the other side of the same road? Finally, considering potentials and threats linked with the vicinity on Mainland China, are there other ways of looking to this area? These questions puzzled me during and after the workshop, as I couldn’t imagine any possible answers coming out of the information contained in the official zoning plan. Therefore I think it was very fruitful that during the workshop at the CUHK people from all over

the world worked together on these matters, opening everybody eyes through different readings, opinions, approaches and strategies for the Hung Shui Kiu area. To me has been clear from the beginning that, while preserving as much as possible its identity, plan for this area should be conceived in tight connection with the surroundings, understanding the actual condition of the area in terms of its real life. At the other hand plans should surely not underestimate the current and future position of the whole district in the greater Hong Kong and Shenzhen area. As often repeated during the Winter School, 2047, the year of the full annexation to China, is rapidly approaching and nobody can really tell what exactly will happen; in the case of New Territories this will probably remain for years a crucial but pending question. 2. The current situation of Western Europe, particularly if taking into consideration The Netherlands, is of course a very different one. However, in my opinion several interrelating factors can be found. First of all, whether we talk about Hong Kong or the Dutch cities in general, we can certainly assert that most urban projects are needed in order to investi-


In the real nature. Photo by Roberto Cavallo.

gate on possible opportunities and challenges rather than on acute problems or urgencies. Without calling in the multifacets of sustainability - nowadays a notion employed everywhere and therefore subject to the ‘inflation’ of its real meaning and use in different and sometimes contrasting ways - I think it is legitimate to question every action and project for new developments in terms of their ‘social price’. In other words, which actors will really take advantage of these new projects and who will be probably be facing the consequences? In this perspective, everybody in Western Europe, and similarly in the United States, learned a lot from the crisis started in 2008. Most top-down projects and real estate investments that would have lead to success and profit in the pre-crisis era have proved not to work anymore. The Netherlands is known all over the world for its solid and organized spatial policy involving its rightly proportioned social project; this way of operating, well-founded throughout history, has been very significant for the prosperity of the country as a whole. Nevertheless, in the last few decades before the crisis, both the public and the private sectors were attracted by increasing land value

and profits, jointly running towards the accomplishment of (new) developments and projects shifting away from the collective agenda’s and ignoring the risks. However, reality turned out to be different. Nowadays the development of ideas and plans into new projects is changing. Paradoxically we needed a crisis to acknowledge and learn about the durable features of projects. Next to top-down approaches, there’s increasing need for stimulating bottom-up initiatives in order to involve as much as possible local actors into the process of urban transformation, ensuring more veritable connections between plans and real actions. 3. New Towns are certainly one of the most fascinating themes in the broad field of urban studies. Their issues and challenges, as important and often recurring matters throughout history, have been the inspiration for a variety of studies regarding the ideal city. In this respect, and in order to answer the question about the relevance of New Towns as ideal city, I will first briefly summarize few thoughts and considerations. Whether we talk about the ancient Greeks or Romans, the fortified cities of the Middle Ages


Close-up of Tin Shui Wai. Photo by Roberto Cavallo.

and the late Renaissance, or the colonial cities, for many centuries the quest for the ideal city has been characterized, above all, by the search for its ideal shape. Looking at the city as the mirror of a society, the act of finding its ideal shape was considered to be an extremely important goal to be pursued, particularly in relation to the ruling of power. The oeuvre of many architects, planners, sociologists, philosophers as well as politician orbits around the obsession of typifying the ideal city in order to find an ideal model that could be successfully repeated. The advent of the modern era brought in few changes; the industrial revolution and, subsequently, mass production, gave raise to new problems. Among others, congestion, mobility of people and goods or adequate health measures represented new urgencies for the planning of cities. Although we can observe in a shift towards a less form related urban planning - especially if considering existing expanding cities - in the case of New Towns the questions of the modern city were indeed translated in interesting approaches but, in terms of layout, form kept a primary role in the configuration of the (ideal) modern city. Never-

theless, the new urban conditions generated an interesting range of study about the ideal city, from company towns to garden cities, passing through futurism and other utopias. Nowadays the complexity of the contemporary city makes the search for ideals via formrelated approaches less effective. The various layers of society, polarization and sprawl, fragmentation as well as the ever transforming infrastructures generate a series of networks that are difficult to synchronize. In addition, to cope with the continuous and unpredictable changes, form and content of plans and proposals need to be flexible. The consequence is that territorial, regional and urban planning, although providing the main guidelines, have the tendency of remaining vague in terms of spatial proposals so that most ambitions, and expectations of stakeholders, must be resolved by projects on smaller scales. Within this framework the search for the ideal city may be still relevant if assuming different characteristics. The contemporary complexity requires cities to consider several scales at the same time, allowing the mixture and change of functions while offering enough space for interaction with all different actors.



Im Sik Cho PhD, Assistant Professor National University of Singapore

1. What were your impressions visiting the current situation and planned development in Hung Shui Kiu and Tin Shui Wai? 2. Can you relate to these issues in your own country or current location? 3. What about new towns as the ideal city, are they still relevant? By Cho Im Sik, Lai Kok Heng Tommy, Lim Xin Yi Dawn and Yeo Kee Aik Shaun, participants from NUS in the IfoU Winter School 2013 1. In Tin Shui Wai, “The City of Sadness�, characterized by its extremely high density, its remote location disconnected from the city centre and high transportation costs to reach other parts of Hong Kong, with limited employment opportunities and high percentage of immigrants in the area, many social and family issues - domestic violence, mental health issues, suicides, unemployment - have arisen through the years and more than 80% of its residents are on social welfare. There is lack of communal amenities for the large population and most of the public housing residents were

found at the plaza near the estate shopping mall to spend time outside their small residential units. Interestingly, one can observe many residents appropriating the public spaces for their own domestic activities such as the drying of clothes. There seems to be an unspoken rule amongst the residents that these activities are permitted and accepted amongst the community. Hung Shui Kiu area, just adjacent to Tin Shui Wai separated by a canal, faces a challenge for Hong Kong to see how the development of a new town can be carried out without the same mistakes and unforeseen circumstances that arose from Tin Shui Wai. What lies on site now is a large group of 26 villages – 19 of which belong to the indigenous people. Some villages have been there for 100-200 years, and many of these villages hold historical buildings and cultures of historical value, but as developers try to buy whatever land they can lay their hands on, many of these villages face a threat of being razed to the ground and replaced with monotonous high density developments akin to those at Tin Shui Wai. There are many socio-cultural spaces and practices that are unique to this area, such as an ances-


Residents of Tin Shui Wai appropriating the public spaces for their own domestic activities. Photo by Yeo Kee Aik Shaun.


Drying produce in the public space, Tin Shui Wai. Photo by Lim Xin Yi Dawn.

tral hall in Ha Village that acts as a meeting point for every family in the village during festivities where they would all gather in the plaza in front of the hall for prayers and meals or an interesting initiative present, nestled amongst the residential towers – a community garden. With its 300 rental plots and more than a hundred people on the waiting list, it represents the presence of a thriving community. However, with the pending development around the site, its days also seem to be numbered. A recurring question was whether in planning a new town from scratch, can these existing practices of the communities be preserved and proliferated in the new residential areas? Is it possible to combine people’s social activities in the development model with economic sustainability with evidence of people having their way of life which extends out into the public or semi-public spaces? 2. A strong emphasis on social cohesion and community spirit seems even more crucial in the context of Singapore which is essentially an immigrant nation where the composition of its population is multi-racial and multi-religious. A very important objective for nation building when Singapore first attained its independ-

ence was to achieve social cohesion where people of different races can live together in peace and harmony. The deliberate attempt at racial mixing finds its parallels in deliberate class mixing. Within estates, and indeed, within blocks, different income groups are mixed through the construction of differently-sized flats. Even though the new town planning is said to be subjected to spatial practice of control that was dictated by the state and as a result HDB public spaces being highly regulated and strictly managed, the vernacular qualities of HDB modernist housings represented by personal appropriation of public space and desire for social activity can be found in public housing estates in Singapore, especially at corridors and lobbies where residents personalize the space by setting up plants, shoe racks and religious items. 3. The concept of new towns as the ideal city goes beyond the physical provision of flats and amenities. It should provide the stage for a thriving community life. It is not merely the structure of space or its spatial form that has implications for social interaction but the


Above, lobby and corridor at a public housing estate in Singapore. Items placed in the lobby vary extensively, from bicycles to sofas and chairs, laundry, pockets of planting, which convert the communal space into a personalized informal space, indicating trust and transparency between neighbours on the same floor. Photo by Chia Wei Jie Daniel. Below, potted plants are commonplace in every public housing estate in Singapore. While it represents desires for personal expression, it also provides chances for social encounters at regular intervals. Photo by Chia Wei Jie Daniel.


social processes involved in the production of space that are equally significant. This can be achieved by engaging the residents to help shape and build their community and living environment. It should provide a chance for people to make active decisions about the built environment and not designers imagining how people ought to use the space and dictate how residents want to express themselves. Community should be viewed as a process that needs to be built collectively by all its stakeholders, rather than an end result. The production of space is socially determined; a society is influenced by its spatial context and at the same time, proactively works to reshape its spatial context according to its needs and aspirations. Therefore, the production of space is a continuous two-way process. Good social participation and involvement in the production (and the reproduction) of a public space can lead to its success. By a continuous process of socio-spatial appropriation whereby society embeds new meanings and significance of a place, feelings of attachment and belonging are created. People would always look for ways to create or embed social meaning to a place. When there is an active process of en-

gagement or (re)appropriation of space taking place, the space becomes more meaningful to people. With deep rootedness on the ground and to the people who inhabit it, new towns can become an ideal city which reflects what the communities value and how they wish to shape their life-world.

Above. A thriving community garden – community initiative in Hung Shui Kiu. Photo by Yeo Kee Aik Shaun. Opposite page. Religious items placed in front of a doorstep in Singapore’s public housing estate. Photo by Chia Wei Jie Daniel. Following spread. A conserved one-hundred-year-old tree at Sau Mau Ping Estate in Hong Kong is now the centre of attraction of a communal space. Photo by Lai Kok Heng Tommy.






115 Avoriaz, France. 2008.

IFoU Winterschool speaker Arnd B채tzner look into the Alpine resorts of France, inspired by grand urban utopias, as an other perspective for understanding new towns.



From Suburbs to Alps – ‘Grands Ensembles’ and the Emergence of Integrated Ski Resorts in France Arnd Bätzner MSc, PhD Candidate St. Gallen University Switzerland Grands Ensembles as Social Utopiae The term ‘Grands Ensembles’ was originally introduced in 1935 by French urbanist Maurice Rotival with the objective of modernizing the banlieue suburbs and improve public hygiene. In the 1950s, the designation became a synonym for new towns complying with a set of criteria: A site classified by public authorities as suitable for or requiring mass housing, a landscape shaped by a coherent entity of residential blocks and towers arranged around a public plaza, a clear typological breach with neighboring urban territories and a repetitive, a minimum of 500 residential units and standardized, cost-efficient design achieved by normalized planning1. Architects such as Emile Aillaud based their grands ensembles designs on 19th and early 20th-century developments such as company towns and garden cities. They saw their work in tradition of CIAM’s Functional City guidelines and Le Corbusier’s 1952 Marseille Unité d’Habitation, largely relying on new industrial building technologies. Despite limited funds, they showed that it was possible to create colored, playful buildings, vary their appear-

ance, include green recreational spaces and artwork2. Unfortunately, structural weaknesses mainly originating from their spatial location led to the dramatic failure of an outstanding number of grands ensembles: Remoteness from urban cores, lack of infrastructure, lack of transport facilities and forced social segregation turned many of them into high-crime areas infamous for riots, violence, gang wars, drug abuse and in some cases a total absence of public authorities. Mostly unable to emancipate from the stigma of their original administrative designation as ZUPs (zones à urbaniser en priorité) implicitly referring to a fundamental socio-economic problem affecting banlieue locations to develop, the French term cité today does not stand for civic awareness or urban life, but for the entire lack of such: Grands ensembles such as Clichy-sous-Bois, Montfermeil or La Grande Borne have become synonyms for impoverished ghettos, urban war zones at the periphery of cultural, administrative and business centers like Paris, Lyon or Marseille. High-Rises in an Alpine Environment Frequently, the brutalist layout of the areas


is in itself was held responsible for the failure of the concept as a whole: From monotonicity, simple-mindedness in design and a false understanding of efficiency, isolation and nonpersonal conditions are seen as inevitable consequences. In this context, it is interesting to note that Florentine architectural practice Superstudio in 1969 strongly advocated for rejection of any design or architecture inducing consumerism and “codifying bourgeois models of ownership and society”.3 Their iconic Continuous Monument: St. Moritz Revisited is the alpine flavor of a series of storyboards envisioning global urbanization, advocating for a utopist, egalitarian design that undermines functionalist rationalism by pushing it to its extremes4: Going beyond the suburban grands ensembles, it declares radical functionalism to act as social equalizer, as deliberate means to overcome social distortions, ultimately rendering useless any individual design of the built environment – excepting historical showcases. Following these reflections, a brief look at two French mountain resorts of the 1960s shall illustrate to what extent their development has been influenced by the grands ensembles typology. The Cases of Flaine and Avoriaz The making of Avoriaz took off in 1962 when 27-year old developer Gérard Brémond, descendant of a Paris family active in the financing of grands ensembles suburbs, bought the concession to develop a high-altitude plateau above the old village of Morzine, located in the French Alps’ department of Haute-Savoie, from local olympic downhill ski champion Jean Vuarnet. Brémond gathered around him a team of young architects who had just left academia – Jacques Lombard, Jean-Jacques Orzoni and Jean-Marc Roques – seeking to develop an ‘integrated resort’ (station intégrée) taking novel approaches in terms of livability, accessibility and urban quality: Also identified as “third type resorts”, these snow sites differ both from traditional alpine villages that over decades became ski destinations (such as Mégève, first type) as much as from post-1945 resorts newly founded by public authorities (such as Courchevel, second type) but still following village-type iconographies.5 In 1960 already, Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer had radically broken with what was then (and widely still is today) considered ‘mountain architecture’: His resort design for

Flaine, established in a formerly untouched landscape basin in Haute-Savoie, followed modernist principles in both design and technologies applied: buildings made from pre-fabricated elements were carefully inserted into the landscape, facades made of concrete matching the surrounding rocks subtly play with light and shadow. Unlike Avoriaz that flirts with the chalet archetype, wood in Flaine has only been used reluctantly on the outside of buildings. Hotels and residences had been furnished among others by Breuer, Alvar Aalto and Eero Saarinen. The resort itself being car free, a separate pedestrian walkway network links visitors’ parking lots and residential buildings, ski lift departure stations being integrated with residential structures, shopping malls and facilities to make them seamlessly accessible. Other innovations include a technical tunnel network housing all utilities such as electricity, phone lines, freshwater and cable television – plus centralized, non-polluting heating and Europe’s first artificial snow-making. The integrated ski station thus shares part of its typology with what is typically designated as ‘destination resort’ - purpose-built for winter sports and self-contained. As Cumin points out in a 1970 approach to a definition, an integrated resort is located at an altitude where at least four months of snow can be expected, which generally is high above most traditional alpine villages. It is laid out in a dense and compact manner, with high-rise buildings grouped around a semicircular area, sunny and well covered with snow, from where the ski lifts to different mountain flanks leave and the arrival points of the slopes converge.6 This particular site, designated as front de neige, serves as an arena where non-skiers can observe skiers’ performance, where vacation guests meet and where daytime social activities take place – it is the alpine adaptation of the summer vacations’ beach. The ground floors of the delimiting buildings are generally occupied by food outlets with outdoor seating, further enhancing a purposefully adapted agora function. The set of buildings shields pedestrian and sports areas on the inside side from car-accessible areas on the outside, appearing as delimitation between vacation and non-vacation functionalities. The outside, a zone that vacationers only frequent on arrival and departure days, is linked to areas below by one single access road. Both Flaine, explicitly modeled after the grands ensembles7,


The station intégrée of Avoriaz - Residential Areas with Local Transport Ski Lifts.



and Avoriaz follow this typology. Flaine in its ultra-modernism went even further, literally transposing the speed scale of an urban CBD into the vacation space: Several blocks are intra-connected by ultrafast inclined elevators.8 Integrated Ski Resorts: Emergence of a Typology In a semiological comparison of contemporary French summer and winter vacation advertising, Guerin and Gumuchian in their 1977 analysis of winter tourism and land use find that the layout of the resort area is, from an urbanistic point of view find ,”a logical conclusion from and materialization of the connection between the sun and the clientele.”9 The highly rational, compact and functional layout of the station intégrée is only made possible by its master planning and its operation through a single developer. Its design thus integrates vacationers’ needs and expectations with the financial constraints compelled by the required yield on capital invested - even if individual housing units have, in some cases, been financed by private owners, the need to first provide infrastructure and accessibility, with all corresponding financial implications, remains. While Avoriaz’ opening for the 1966 holiday season was carried out with a single hotel only, the subsequent years brought new hospitality concepts: Along with traditional models of flat ownership, a tax-beneficial scheme was introduced, owners buying and owning flats with a centralized agency renting them out to vacationers at times when owners would not occupy them. Replacing hotel rooms – and big-name hotel chains that did not yet see enough incentives to come to Avoriaz - by apartments, some of them only 15 m2 in net size, emerged as a win-win situation, flat owners taking advantage of the lease paid by vacationers and the resort enabled to rapidly set up critical hospitality infrastructure at greatly reduced financial charges.10 Similar to Flaine, Avoriaz was laid out as a carfree resort, decades before design considerations for environmental sustainability became standard practice of spatial planning. In its first years, Avoriaz was accessible by aerial tram only: When the access road opened in 1969, parking was outside the resort and sleds were provided for vacationers to move their luggage from car to accommodation: The declared objective to make the mountain widely accessible, yet offer an uncompromised recrea-

tional experience resulted in the montagne démocratique, accessible to a much larger customer base than ever before in the history of winter sports.11 Though designed almost a decade earlier Flaine, albeit in volumetry and footprint largely different from Avoriaz, implicitly addressed Superstudio’s 1971 critique by making inclusion, not delimitation, the base of its architectural design. In terms of marketing, an approach inspired by Saint Tropez was chosen: Bringing the early1970s Paris Jet Set into Avoriaz was achieved on the one hand by means of cultural events, such as jazz nights and a yearly film festival – the second in France after Cannes – on the other hand by deliberately singling out the site’s distinctive features: a radically new type of alpine architecture combined with advanced urban approaches, founded on re-thinking the needs and lifestyles of vacationers. Other measures included a novel approach to accessibility by means of ‘flat’ ski-lifts providing local mobility curving around and between buildings for intra-resort urban transportation, not sports. Headlines were regularly generated through an early adaptation of branding and image-building techniques taken from entirely different business environments – such as the then-famous Haute Couture designer Rozier dressing all of the resort’s employees, “turning them into musical comedy actors”.12 The active inclusion of Tout-Paris celebrities and press coverage of their presence emerged as a powerful tool quickly boosting Avoriaz’ profile without any need for a significant advertising budget. Plan Neige and Social Programming of Space After locations for second-type ski resorts such as Courchevel had successfully been identified in the post-WWII-years by Paris-based Ponts et Chaussées central planners flying over the Alps in helicopters, a larger inventory of possible building sites “for highly functional altitude ski resorts based on vertical urbanism […] able to attract foreign currency”13 was compiled in the 1964 Plan Neige. Based on a massive state intervention including significant facilitation for planners, 150’000 out of the 350’000 beds initially scheduled were created in less than two decades, bringing into existence now-famous resorts such as Tignes, Isola 2000, La Plagne, Les Menuires, Val-Thorens and Valmorel.14


The structural homogeneity of the architecture of these third-type, integrated resorts with their giant number of inhabitable micro-cells led Guérin and Gumuchian to term Avoriaz as “cruise ship of the snow”, reflecting its patronage’s social consistency. The station intégrée appropriates its spatial environment to facilitate the level of delocalization of the vacationer, mountain scenery being largely reduced to decorative functions and its identity replaced by the brand of the resort15: Following Baudrillard’s reflections on objects as social identifiers16, the vacationer thus becomes a consumer of signs he identifies with his spatial environment, a symbolism reflecting desirable social values. Unlike Flaine, Avoriaz, with its extensive use of wood, implicitly recalls the chalet building typology that the vacationer’s mental image of mountain resorts expects him to find there.17 A comparable mechanism of reading spaces through social and behavioral signs attached affects suburban grands ensembles. It has been found to ultimately work against them: Those residents that could benefit from a cité’s initial modernism and upgrade their social level eventually left the grands ensembles, leaving behind the underprivileged and underperforming. Over decades, as the needs of occupants changed and residents underwent fluctuations, the infrastructure in the cités remained static, increasingly unable to serve the needs of inhabitants. Revaluation and Historic Heritage Avoriaz and Flaine, in contrast, have been continuously extended and adapted, reacting to an ageing infrastructure that is now approaching 50 years of age - lately by taking out internal walls, combining two micro-flats into one being able to suit current expectations from vacationers. By redecorating, remodeling and extending infrastructure, the integrated ski resorts grew and changed with the middle class that had been their original target group: Flaine was notorious, until the turn of 21st century, for its complete absence of crime. Ultimately, the neglect of continuous improvement in the banlieues can be seen as originating from a lack of proper governance, triggered by dysfunctional steering combined with an intellectual disinterest of France’s governing elites. Despite decades of emergency intervention programs, the situation in many cités has not noticeably changed for the better. Solutions

to pacify the cités and to free their inhabitants from social stigmata would leave room for their historic reappraisal. Grands ensembles, in the metropolitan suburbs as in the Alps, are an important part of France’s younger architectural legacy: The older, core buildings of Avoriaz have in 2003 been labeled cultural heritage of the 20th century by the French Ministry of Culture18, and so have been in 2008 large parts of Flaine.

Notes 1. Dufaux, F. ,Fourcaut, A. (2004), Le Monde des Grands Ensembles, Creaphis, Paris, p. 15-42 2. Dhuys, J.F. (1983), L’Architecture selon Emile Aillaud, Bordas, Paris, p. 148 3. Furuto, A. (2012), Unify L.A.: A Radical Urban Intervention Proposal - Mikey Nitro, in: ArchDaily, <http://www.archdaily. com/?p=266051>, accessed 01 February 2014 4. McGuirk, J. (2003), Superstudio – Life Without Objects, in: Icon 001, retrieved from, accessed 23rd Jan 2014 5. Guérin, J.-P., Gumuchian, H. (1977), Mythes, Tourisme Hivernal et Aménagement de l’Espace : l’Exemple de la Station Intégrée. In : Revue de Géographie Alpine, Vol. 65 No. 2, pp. 171 6. Cumin, G. (1970), Les Stations Intégrées, in : Urbanisme Vol. 116, pp. 50-53 7. Région Rhône-Alpes : Stations de Sport d’Hiver – Découverte de l’Urbanisme et de l’Architecture. Retrieved from, accessed Feb 5th, 2014 8. Rouillard, D. et al (2009), Imaginaires d’Infrastructure, l’Harmattan, Paris, p. 10 9. Guérin, J.-P., Gumuchian, H. (1977), Mythes, Tourisme Hivernal et Aménagement de l’Espace : l’Exemple de la Station Intégrée. In : Revue de Géographie Alpine, Vol. 65 No. 2, pp. 169-179 10. Bourreau, C. (2004), Avoriaz, L’aventure Fantastique, Collection Savoie Vivante, Ed. La Fontaine de Siloé, Montmélian, p. 165 11. Rouillard, D. et al (2009), Imaginaires d’Infrastructure, l’Harmattan, Paris, p. 153 12. Bourreau, C. (2004), Avoriaz, L’aventure Fantastique, Collection Savoie Vivante, Ed. La Fontaine de Siloé, Montmélian, p. 172 13. The French Franc between 1965 and 1985 suffered from a single to double-digit inflation 14. Serraz, G. (1998), L’Héritage du Plan Neige, in : Libération, 29 December 1998 15. Guérin, J.-P., Gumuchian, H. (1977), Mythes, Tourisme Hivernal et Aménagement de l’Espace : l’Exemple de la Station Intégrée. In : Revue de Géographie Alpine, Vol. 65 No. 2, p. 175 16. Baudrillard J., (1981), For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign, Telos Press, St. Louis, MO, p. 35 17. Guérin, J.-P., Gumuchian, H. (1977), Mythes, Tourisme Hivernal et Aménagement de l’Espace : l’Exemple de la Station Intégrée. In : Revue de Géographie Alpine, Vol. 65 No. 2, p. 178 18. Bourreau, C. (2004), Avoriaz, L’aventure Fantastique, Collection Savoie Vivante, Ed. La Fontaine de Siloé, Montmélian, p. 297



MSCUD×CUHK URBAN DESIGN STUDIO 2013 Beginning where the IFoU 2013 Winter School left, CUHK students continued to work with Hung Shui Kiu in the spring term 2013. Titled “REVIEWING HONG KONG NEW TOWN DESIGN: HUNG SHUI KIU”, the studio was instructed by the program professors Colin Fournier and Sujata Govada with the objective of producing proposals for future new towns, and to evaluate such projects not only in terms of their potential sustainability but also in terms of broader intentions that could make of Hung Shui Kiu an “ideal city” on a par with Hong Kong: in terms of aesthetics, distinctive identity, sense of place, diversity and enjoyment.



In general, certain themes would recur throughout the studio work as the major topics of interest.




In hindsight, these themes would also identify issues vital to the planning of Hung Shui Kiu.



The car ownership rate in Hong Kong ranks among the lowest in the developed world, and use of public transport is nearly universal here.

The relationship between new development and public transportation naturally took precedence in student work. Owing to the success of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) since its opening in 1979, the government has put great investment toward expansion of the metro system. Coupled with the top-down planning of new towns in the city and the diversification of the MTR into property development, transit-oriented development (TOD) has become extremely common in Hong Kong. Learning from the existing TOD typologies we encounter each day, several students used Hung Shui Kiu as grounds to explore new transit-oriented development models.


The viaducts of the West Rail Line, the longest bridges in Hong Kong, carry this high capacity metro line east-west through the Hung Shui Kiu site and provide for a quick connection to the urban core.


Light railway


Metro station


Students saw these transit nodes as major aspects of the plans in various ways: as community centres and gathering places, and as quick connections to other places that may thrust this hinterland into the regional fore...

The viaduct and station box are highlighted at the centre of a central green spine. Green appendages connect to the urban fabric and form a park network. This space eases the tension between the new development and the existing villages. Development of the highest intensity is clustered alongside the Kong Sham Highway. Simon LEE Wai Shing, MArch.




The typical MTR transit-oriented development takes the form of a shopping centre integrated with a railway station. These have typically taken the form of inward-facing developments with poor relationships with the exterior streetscape. This scheme is a hybridization between the profitable “MTR model� and the traditional Hong Kong urban grid. An axial public space bridges the gap between an existing light rail stop and a new metro station. The site chosen is mostly brownfield land so as to preserve and build from the existing village fabric. Ben MacLeod, MScUD


A futuristic take on the High Line

The linear city is built along, on top of, and underneath the existing metro viaduct, forging an integral link between a new urban fabric and transport nodes. The multilayered plan focuses intensity at the upper storeys and leaves the lower domain to “slow life� uses with an environmental focus. In this sense the design is deferential to the numerous existing villages which already inhabit the Hung Shui Kiu area. Stephy DENG Xin, MScUD





What is the regional role of the future Hung Shui Kiu new town?

Hung Shui Kiu holds a strategic position midway between Shenzhen and the urban core of Hong Kong. A highway bridge at the western edge of the site already provides a direct link across Deep Bay. The concept of a new railway line linking the Hong Kong and Shenzhen airports was first published in the Second Railway Development Strategy of 2000. This project may have profound implications for the Hung Shui Kiu area, as it may possibly be routed through the district. This “Western Express Line� (WEL) is still under government consideration and has no formalized alignment, but students envisioned the various options (shown at right). This infrastructure represents economic potential and spurred some students to focus particularly on the significance of the new town within the context of the northwest New Territories, and within the greater Pearl River Delta megacity.




This scheme proposes the development of the Hung Shui Kiu new town as a major urban subcentre with an economic clustering of creative industries. To this end, it includes studio spaces, art schools, performing arts and exhibition venues, and market space. Existing elements, like the surrounding villages, are integrated with the new development and may transition toward “art villages�. Peter SO Kwong Tat, MArch




In recent decades, Hong Kong has developed numerous commercial centres. Business and employment figures in the traditional city centre of Central district are now rivalled by those of other areas, like Kowloon East. Similarly, Hung Shui Kiu here is envisioned to become a significant regional hub. It could serve as a bridge between Yuen Long and Tuen Mun districts, and between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The district is internally anchored by several commercial centres built around three different MTR stations. Kenneth CHAN Kin Wang, MArch


Radical Approaches

The scheme proposes a multilayered urbanism, with soaring elevated roadways and pedestrian walkways, as a compromise between the ownership rights of the villagers, and the development aspirations of the government. Tina WANG Tong


The amoebic megastructure is drawn from the mangrove forests found around some areas of the Deep Bay coastline. Evan CHEN Fan


Playing with the small house policy of the New Territories, new population in Hung Shui Kiu is here accommodated through “small houses� within a megastructure framework. Could this be a more human, organic approach than that of Tin Shui Wai with its countless standardized residential blocks? This project is user-oriented in other respects, including a focus on fostering street life, and on providing a variety of building and housing typologies. Nelson HUEN Ming Yeung, MArch



A discovery made in research was the abundance of considerations a new town design must juggle.

After spending a previous semester studying the finegrained, highly developed urban district of Sai Ying Pun, there was an expectation that Hung Shui Kiu would be a new town from scratch, and an opportunity for free creative reign. But the area is far from a blank slate. Many student projects were in fact heavily characterized by their attempts to sensitively integrate the existing fabric with new development, or to enhance elements of the natural environment.

The scheme builds off the neighbouring, earlier generation new town at Tin Shui Wai, seeking to provide employment and recreation opportunities for residents of the area, which may be characterized as a bedroom community with few jobs. Tracy ZHANG Zhenhang, MScUD



The present positive elements of the area - the indigenous villages, the hydrological features, and farmland - should be blended together for new town design in Hung Shui Kiu. Helen YU Qinlei, MScUD


Interviews were conducted with villagers on their feelings toward everyday concerns with public space, social facilities, community life, and tradition. The resulting scheme is radical in its deference to the present-day village life and culture. TSUI Tik Man, MArch


In contrast to the more uniformly high 30-50 storey height profile of adjacent Tin Shui Wai, this plan simulates the more varied building stock of an older area with construction of a variety of styles and building height. It holds a focus on providing more than the prevailing standard in Hong Kong: more living space, more green space, and more amenity space, stemming from enhanced, greened nullahs and associated parkland. Bobo YANG Xue, MScUD




MSCUDĂ—CUHK URBAN DESIGN THESIS 2013 The work on Hung Shui Kiu continued in the program with some students also choosing their studio projects as the topic for their final thesis. Completed in summer 2013, the projects were accompanied more in-depth writing and further development of the individual core themes.


URBAN INTERFACE Tracy ZHANG Zhenhang Tackling the issue of interface at all urban scales, this project begins with the basic idea of developing the Hung Shui Kiu new town as a district extending from adjacent Tin Shui Wai and drawing activity across the nullah. At a finer scale, it draws from other Hong Kong cases some possible best practices for developing healthy pedestrian environments. Hopefully, this approach might help counter the bleak state of pedestrian environments in the Tin Shui Wai area.

TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT STUDY FOR THE HUNG SHUI KIU NEW DEVELOPMENT AREA Ben MacLeod Expanding upon the development explored during the second semester, this thesis seeks to elaborate a fully formed new town development programme balancing the vast range of considerations necessary, and in particular also seeks to innovate upon the conventional typology of the MTR rail-plus-property model, which is the primary vehicle for transit-oriented development in the Hong Kong context.


RHYTHM OF THE CITY Bobo YANG Xue In the routine of everyday life, there is rhythm and theatre. The quality of public spaces can profoundly affect the perception of the rhythm and tempo of the user’s experience – the sense of everyday beauty the space might impart on a pedestrian’s life. In some newer developments in Hong Kong, poor urban design quality might only draw out the dominant rhythm. Can urban design tools draw out the unique “rhythm” of a locality and local culture?

3D URBANISM: THE DEATH AND LIFE OF HONG KONG NEW TOWNS Tina WANG Tong This work proposes that many of the problems noted of Tin Shui Wai are related to poor circulation on the vertical plane, and that despite being a highly dense, vertical city, a mature form of 3D urbanism has not come about in Hong Kong. For Hung Shui Kiu then, the author proposes a unique new form of new town marked by intense development with circulation at all levels.








RE-DO NEW TOWN: HUNG SHUI KIU AT THE 2013 UABB*HK After several rounds of projects around Hung Shui Kiu and the issue of new towns, it seemed fitting to try and display some of the work in an exhibition. Gathered here are notes from the sketches and development of the RE-DO NEW TOWN exhibition in the Hong Kong 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture.


From workshop to a roundtable.

From coursework to exhibition.

From questions to reflections.


From the curatorial point of view, it deemed inevitable to admit that we had produced more questions than answers about what new towns today could be like, and how to address this prevailing combination of massive housing and underlaying villages. In the end, the feeling was that at this point we could only document and present the work as a process of what had happened in our activities. On the other hand, seeing this entire timeline, it seemed like a good beginning.


First sketches for a larger scale exhibition with a replicated scene of the village life and a wall newspaper project, allowing more engagement with the public.








But if there was something that the exhibition could achieve, was to try and show the sensation of the finer grains of our experiences. In putting together this book it seemed that so many people who had taken part in our activites had come to the same conclusion that there were still certain traits in the disorderly urban mixture of Hung Shui Kiu that felt special if you spent some time observing them. So it became a question of how to display that particular untaken debate. Ultimately, many of the questions sparkled more curiosity. How to go deeper?


170 Opening day of the UABB*HK, 20 December 2013.







Vol. 2 / Issue 1 / December 2013

Edited by Mika Savela Hendrik Tieben School of Architecture, CUHK




2013 IFoU Winter School MSCUD Studios MSCUD Thesis



A view towards Tin Shui Wai.


Photos from a series of study trips in January 2014, as the new studios were about to begin their work. The three alternative studios titled “RE-SCRIPTING URBAN RULES: URBANISING VILLAGES IN THE PRD (MACAU, HONG KONG, SHENZHEN)“ aim to embrace a broader understanding of the urban designer’s role and consider how certain rules of development result in certain forms and how new rules could now be ‘designed’ to shape radically new forms of urbanism, and to achieve contemporary ideals of urban living.


A “wall” of Taipa new town, Macau.


Taipa Village and New Town


In Taipa village, Macau.



Venetian Casino, Macau.



Village house front yard Hung Shui Kiu.


Hung Shui Kiu


The Tang Ancestral Hall (Yau Kung Tong) in Ha Tsuen from 1750, representing Qing era vernacular architecture.



Examples of contamporary village houses in juxtaposition to the imposing highrise public housing of Tin Shui Wai.





A jungle of informal electric wiring in the Baishizhou urban village, Shenzhen.







Contrasting new housing development .



Everyday economic activities. Baishizhou, Shenzhen.




Images and Illustrations (Image and illustration authors with page numbers)

Publication contributors, students and workshop participants Mika Savela 4-5, 10-11, 12-13, 16-17, 24, 25, 26-27, 30-31, 32-33, 36-37, 38-39, 50, 52-53, 60, 61, 86-87, 88-89, 90-91, 122, 154, 160161, 162, 166-167, 168, 170-171, 174-175, 180 (larger), 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186-187, 184 (bottom), 185 Hendrik Tieben 176-177, 178-179, 180 (smaller), 184 (top), 190, 191, 192-193, 194-195, 196-197, 198-199 MO Kar Him 40-41, 42-43, 44-45, 68-69, 76-77, 78-79 Michela Turrin 93, 94, 95 Maurice Harteveld 99, 100, 101 Roberto Cavallo 103, 104, 105 Yeo Kee Aik Shaun 107, 110 LIM Xin Yi Dawn. 108 CHIA Wei Jie Daniel 109, 111 LAI Kok Heng Tomm 118-119 Ben MacLeod 128, 132, 133 WANG Tong Tina 144, 158-159 DENG Xin Stephy 134, 135, 138-139 SO Kwong Tat Peter 140, 141 CHAN Kin Wang Kenneth 142, 143 CHEN Fan Evan 145 HUEN Ming Yeung Nelson 146, 147 ZHANG Zhenhang Tracy 149 YU Qinlei Helen 150 TSUI Tik Man 151 YANG Xue Bobo 152, 153

201 Outside sources Page 20. Hung Shui Kiu New Development Area, Revised Final Planning and Engineering Study - Investigation Stage 1, Community Engagement Report, July 2013. Planning Department, HK SAR Government. Page 29. Hung Shui Kiu New Development Area Planning and Engineering Study Stage 2 Community Engagement Digest, July 2013. Planning Department, HK SAR Government. Pages 114-115 image adapted from photo by Wikimedia Commons user “Look Sharp”, CC-BY-SA-2.5 licence. http:// Pages 118-119 photo source Wikimedia Commons user “Pbrundel”, CC-BY-SA-2.5 licence. Page 127 photo source Wikimedia Commons user “Baycrest”, CC-BY-SA-2.5 licence. Page 129 photo source Wikimedia Commons user “Ivangrant”, CC-BY-SA-3.0 licence. TIS_Outside.jpg



Urban design plays a key role in creating livable, sustainable and socially just cities. As one of the most dynamic and fascinating laboratories for contemporary urbanism, Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta offer a wide range of challenges and opportunities. Launched in 2012, the M.Sc. in Urban Design programme of the School of Architecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong aims to prepare committed designers to engage with these challenges. Through a multidisciplinary combination of design studios and focused modules, students develop design skills while integrating new knowledge about essential areas for urban design, such as community participation, ecosystems and transport networks. Courses in urban history, transportation and environmental economy provide a deeper understanding of the forces of urbanism and the impact of urban design on the environment and society. The programme’s international and Asian networks and dedicated faculty offer students an intensive and high-impact addition to their professional education. For more information see our programme website (, or contact: Ms. Aggie Cheng Project Coordinator Tel. +852 3943 1309 Fax. +852 3942 09827 School of Architecture The Chinese University of Hong Kong Room 106, AIT Building Shatin, New Territories Hong Kong SAR, China



ISSN 2227-8044 (PAPERBACK) ISSN 2304-1625 (PDF) M.Sc. in Urban Design Programme School of Architecture The Chinese University of Hong Kong

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