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Emerging Hong Kong Urban Design Report Tina Matei

The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL MArch Urban Design UD 4 Tutors—DaeWha Kang and Monika Bilska


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Top-down approaches to city-making often do not engage citizens in the creation of space, forcing them to be passive consumers of the environments they inhabit daily. This project has the reverse premise: that the curious, creative, spontaneous and active citizen of Hong Kong should shape his or her city. From rigorous research of Mong Kok, one of the densest areas of the city, this project explores how empowering communities through a series of urban incisions can incite a more balanced method of development that does not negate the human scale. By capitalizing on Hong Kong’s urban behaviours of verticality and multi-layering, old typologies can be reinterpreted for a more intriguing experience of the contemporary city.

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Contents Research

Design

5

Sites Catalogue

64

Project Staging and Key Considerations

10

Site A

65

Site A—Emergence Scenario Diagrams

16

Site B

98

Site A Plan

22

Site C

100

Site A Section

28

Site D

103

Site B Overview

34

SIte E

106

Site B Plan

40

SIte F

108

Site B Section

45

Hong Kong Typologies Catalogue

111

Site C Overview

46

Street Markets

114

Site C Plan

54

Dai Pai Dongs

116

Site C Section

58

Rooftop Extensions

118

Sites A + B + C Plan 1:1000

60

Street Signage

120

4

Sites A + B + C Plan 1:2000


Emerging Hong Kong Research— Sites Catalogue

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Mong Kok is one of the densest areas of

Mong Kok

Hong Kong, and its gridded blocks are composed of recently-built towers in tandem with aging Kowloon blocks. While the east end of the site, adjacent to Nathan Road, is a more bustling and noisy area filled with Kowloon Corridor is generally quieter and more residential. There is also another kind of contrast within Mong Kok—the parallel existence (and often, clash) of newer, taller, and more tightly-controlled spaces and the older, smaller, more informal spaces where a local touch is more visible. The newer process of city-making doesn’t engage citizens in the creation of space, leaving them as mere consumers of the spaces in which they are living. This project has the reverse premise: that the curious, creative, spontaneous and active citizen of Hong Kong should shape his or her city. This catalogue explores six sites within Mong Kok in which more communal, pedestrian, public spaces could emerge. Providing a platform and nurturing networks of inclusive communities is socially sustainable for city-making. The ideal is that these communities could reach a critical mass where they become influential enough to significantly negotiate the evolution of spatial development. This can serve as a model for bottom-up development for other cities around the world. 6

WEST KOWLOON CORRIDO R

street activity, the west end near the West


NATHAN ROAD

Site within context of Kowloon & Central

0

1

2

4km

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Site Selection Criteria

Green open space Parkettes can be used by emergent communities for outdoor activities or social events. Visibility of parks from Emergent Community spaces also creates ease and relaxation.

Existing Active Street Life Proximity to active streets means Emergent Community Spaces can be easily accessible and visible to these citizens. Locations where there are street markets, small ground-floor shops or restaurants that generate pedestrian traffic are ideal.

A

Low-traffic Narrow Streets Narrow one-way streets where vehicle traffic is lighter and slower is ideal, because they could be used for temporary activities such as street markets or performances.

High Residential Density or High Commercial Density near Public Transit Locations with more residential towers would make it more likely that locally-rooted people would use Emergent Community Spaces. Meanwhile, locations that have a more commercial composition would mean people also from outside the local area could use the space. Being close to a public transit node ensures convenience. In either type of location, a unique character could evolve based on diverse kinds of

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activities created at different times.

Aging or vacant buildings The ubiquity of aging Kowloon blocks throughout the site suggest potential for future redevelopment. Instead of doing away with the block typology completely (in favour of the high-rise cul-de-sac), the block could be reinterpreted as an Emergent Community Space. This is ideal because of its connection to street life.

Unique Local Characteristics Each site has a unique character that could act as a starting point for the activities of the Emergent Community Spaces (music centers, yoga classes, etc.)

8

E


0

50

100

200m

B

C

D

9


Residential High-Rises

1:1000

1

3

2

4

5

Green open space At interior of block between Ferry and Thistle Streets. Existing Active Street Life Active street markets on Nelson street and Canton Road.

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6

Lower traffic, Narrow Streets Most streets narrow and one way, except for West Kowloon Corridor.

Aging Buildings Many of the Kowloon blocks show significant wear and some are event under repair like in img 2.

High Residential Density Kowloon blocks throughout site; residential high-rises near W. Kowloon Corridor.

Unique Local Characteristics The street market gives the are a unique human-scale quality; an urban living room for community.


Site A

1

1

1

3

2

4

5

6

11


Commercial High-Rises

12

1:1000


Site A

1:1000

Section on proceeding page

Kowloon Blocks + Street Market

13


14


Street Section

1:100

Site A

15


Commercial High-Rises

1

1:1000

2

3

4

5

7

8

9

16

6


Site B

1

2

4

5

3

6

7

9

8

Green open space At corner of Shanghai & Shantun Streets. Existing Active Street Life High pedestrian volume throughout site, especially the pedestrian zone between Nathan Rd & Portland Street. Lower traffic, Narrow Streets Fewer than other sites; Portland St.

Commercial Density near Public transit Throughout site, esp. Nathan Road. Entrances to metro on Northwest corner. Aging Buildings Not as many in this redeveloped site; except few with smaller footprints, such as beige podia & high rise in foreground of img 9.

Unique Local Characteristics Site is a combination of large scale commercial buildings, vehicle traffic on high streets, but still contain some smaller scale buildings and podia that connect to street

17


Residential High-Rises

18

1:1000


Site B Pedestrian Areas + Metro Entrances

1:1000

Elevation on proceeding page

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Street Elevation

20

1:200


Site B

21


Residential High-Rises

1:1000

1

2 3

4

22

5

6

7

8

Green open space Three parkettes throughout site; the one on Shanghai street breaks up blocks.

Lower traffic, Narrow Streets Streets south of Shantung street and West of Nathan road are more pedestrian friendly.

Existing Active Street Life High pedestrian volume throughout site; on Nathan Road and the pedestrian corridor at west terminus of Soy st.

Commercial Density / Residential Density This site, being a bit further from the major transit hub, has a balance of residential and commercial uses and would make an interesting site for emergent community spaces.

Aging Buildings Some older blocks, eg. in background of img 5. Construction sites also denote this area has been under redevelopment for some time. Unique Local Characteristics Some interesting uses of blocks such as in img 2: music centers and other cultural activities imply demand for artistic/ cultural uses.


Site C

1

2

3

4

6

5

7

8

23


Commercial High-Rises

24

1:1000


Site C 1:1000

Elevation on proceeding page

Kowloon Blocks + Pedestrian Circulation

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Street Elevation

26

1:100


Site C

27


Commercial High-Rises

1:1000

6

1

2 5

7

9

8

4

Green open space There is a string of green spaces between Shanghai and Portland street, each block with its own green space.

28

3

Existing Active Street Life Mostly near Yau Ma Tei metro station and on Nathan Road. Generally not as much pedestrian traffic as sites closer to Mong Kok metro towards the north

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Site D 1

2

4

6

3

5

7

9

8

Lower traffic, Narrow Streets Throughout site, except for Nathan Road; particularly Pitt Street. Commercial Density near Public transit Like site C, balance between commercial and residential uses.

Aging Buildings Unlike site C, there are many more aging Kowloon blocks that have not yet been redeveloped.

Unique Local Characteristics This site seems to be characterised by smaller-scale businesses (img 6). Some cultural uses such as a church (img 7) are visible artifices of existing local communities.

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Kowloon Blocks

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1:1000


Site D 1:1000

Section on proceeding page

Pedestrian Area + Metro

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Street Section

32

1:100


Site D

33


Residential High-Rises

1

1:1000

2

3

4

5

6

34


Site E

1

2

3

4

5

6

Green open space Throughout site; most wellmanicured with little room for interpretation such as img. 5. Existing Active Street Life Soy street is fairly lively; Occasional street markets along Canton Road.

Lower traffic, Narrow Streets Canton Road would be well suited for a Emergent Community spaces because it is a narrow, one-way street that favours pedestrian movement. High Residential Density This area is not close to major transit hubs, and although there are some commercial high rises, it is a quieter area than those near Mong Kok metro station.

Aging Buildings Many aging Kowloon blocks scattered throughout site, eg. img 6. Unique Local Characteristics Some commercial podia at the base of residential buildings seem to have green parkettes on their roof (img 2); there is certainly potential to activate these spaces more.

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Commercial High-Rises

36

1:1000


Site E

1:1000

Section on proceeding page

Kowloon Blocks

37


Street Section

38

1:100


Site E

39


Residential High-Rises

1:1000

1

2 7 3 4 6

5

40

8

9


Site F 1

2

4

6

3

5

7

9

8

Green open space Parkette hidden at the end of culde-sacs. Large green area on west side of W. Kowloon corridor; disconnected from fabric of Mong Kok, mostly for use by new high rise development. Existing Active Street Life Not as much as in other sites; there is quite a bit of pedestrian activity along Ferry street (img 7); this area feels like a sleepy vertical suburb.

Lower traffic, Narrow Streets Kam Lam street is a cul-de-sac and does not favour vehicle movement. Some pedestrian traffic to access the ped. bridge across the highway. High Residential Density Throughout site, esp. Nathan Road. Entrances to metro on Northwest corner. Aging Buildings Many aging blocks and podia have potential for redesign and redevelopment.

Unique Local Characteristics There seem to be some locallyowned workshops that open right onto the street (img 9). Construction site (img 8) implies future redevelopment of area. There is a lot of potential to activate this largely residential area and connect more activities to the street.

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42


Street Elevation

1:100

Site F

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Emerging Hong Kong Research— Typologies Catalogue

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Dormant Stage

Vertical adaptation: storage spaces 46

1 Improvised layering of found roof materials


Hong Kong Typologies Street Markets

2 Efficiency, consistency, modularity: metal stalls

Lightweight plastic covering material, retracted

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47


Active Stage

5 Additional accessory storage plastic or cardboard 48

8


Hong Kong Typologies Street Markets

3 Durable, flexible, multipurpose product stands

Additional support 6 for stall accessories: bamboo 49


Animated Stage

Perforated plastic as product hanging mechanism 50

4


Hong Kong Typologies Street Markets

Circulation route also a common area; support spine for market

Physical cues separate and loosely contain activity 51


Market Materials

1

Cor r ug ated Sheet M etal

4

Cor r ug ated Plastic

7

Plastic Tar p

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2

S tr uctural suppor t m etal for stalls

5

Sm ooth Plastic

8

C ardboard

3

Sheet m etal for stands

6

B am boo


Hong Kong Typologies Street Markets

Market Behaviours

H ete rog e n o us L aye r i ng

Ve r tic a l Ad a ptatio n

Se d uctio n Tactic s

R et r acte d (I n acti ve) 足足

E x p a n d e d ( Acti ve)

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Hong Kong Typologies Dai Pai Dong

D a i Pa i D ong s a r e h istor ic a lly pr omin e nt in Hong Kong’s public s p ac e c ultur e. Us u a lly fo und on n a r r ow or p e d e str i a n - on ly str e ets , th ey a r e min i- r e sta ur a nts th at us e r o a d s a s m a ke s h if t d in ing a r e a s . O f te n fa mily r un, th e s e s m a ll sc a le b us in e s s e s we r e onc e sc at te r e d g e n e r o us ly th r o ug ho ut th e c it y, a nd e ac h h a d th e ir own s p e c i a litie s th at at tr acte d h ung r y Hong Kong e r s . Wh ile th e r e a r e still som e in op e r ation, m a ny h ave b e e n s h ut down d ue to inc r e a s ing lycontr oling gove r nm e nt r e g ul ations . Fr om a str uctur a l point of view, D a i Pa i D ong s a r e s imil a r to oth e r str e et m a r ket sta lls: th ey h ave a n active a nd in active state th at is accommod ate d by th e f lexibilit y of th e ir m eta l d e s ig n. T h ey a r e s lig htly l a rg e r th a n most m a r ket sta lls , howeve r, b e c a us e of th e mor e ex te ns ive phys ic a l r e q uir e m e nts of food pr e p a r ation. T h ey h ave h e ating e q uipm e nt, a r a is e d b a s e a nd a ve ntil ation syste m on th e r oof. Te m por a r y stor ag e a nd wor k ing a r e a s a r e fac ilitate d by th e exp a nd ing por tions of th e b a s ic str uctur e, f l a n ke d on e ith e r s id e d ur ing th e D a i Pa i D ong’s active state. D a i Pa i D ong s of te n op e r ate c los e to e ac h oth e r, or a s p a r t of str e et m a r kets , a s th ey c a n c a pita lize on existing str e et activit y. But, ve r y of te n, th ey c r e ate a c luste r of str e et activit y on th e ir own th r o ug h th e im pr ovis e d d in ing a r e a s , of te n com pos e d of in exp e ns ive, we ath e r- r e s ista nt, pl a stic s e ating. 55


Inactive (Retracted)

0

0

56

1

10

2

20

3m

30 m


Hong Kong Typologies Dai Pai Dong

Active (Expanded)

0

0

1

10

2

20

3m

30 m

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R o of to p S l um s, Ko w lo o n, H o ng Ko ng.

H ong Kong roof top ex tensions are additional testam ents to the im provised, adapt-it-your self at titude that results from spatial constraints in the cit y. B ecause of the housing cr isis in the cit y, m ore flats are built on ex isting ag ing blocks, whether leg ally or illeg ally. Roof top ex tensions provide space for these and other uses when the other layer s 58

of the cit y below lack the room to accom m odate them. While som e ex tensions are built m ore eleg antly and per m anently, im provised shelter s like the slums in the above picture are ver y interesting t ypolog ies. T hey are constr ucted cheaply by dif ferent people, usually from lef tover or found m ater ials

from larger constr uction projects. While [illeg al] housing is a dom inant use for these ex tensions, they can host a var iet y of activities that people don’t have room to pur sue in their hom es or on g round level, such as g ardening, storage, or leisure areas.


Hong Kong Typologies Rooftop Extensions E x tensions on Podia

1:10 0

C ro s s h atc h e d Wo o de n S l ats

B r ick us e d as lef tove r f i l le r

E x tr a f l ats o r ex te n s io n s fo r ex isti ng f l ats

S p ac e fo r g a rd e n i ng

Pote nti a l S to r ag e S p ac e

Extensions on Kowloon Block

1:10 0

C o nc rete wa l l str uctu r i ng E x tr a f l ats o r ex te n s io n s fo r ex isti ng f l ats

As p h a l t R o of C l add i ng M ate r i a l

C o r r ug ate d s h e et m eta l

E x tensions on Podia

1:10 0

Wo o de n Lo u ve re d S h u t te r s

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Sur vival of the Most Appealing A cacophony of br ight colour s, tex t, and g raphics on m any streets in H ong Kong is evidence of fierce com m ercial com petitiveness.

Adapting to Stay Seen T he “L� shaped signs are a result of adapting the for m around other existing signs, in order to rem ain visible to passer bys.

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Hong Kong Typologies Street Signage Navigating Ver ticalit y of Blocks T hese signs also ser ve as way finding tools. Although m ost signs help people navig ate an area hor izontally, these signs indicate ver tical uses in blocks and high-r ises.

Play ful Potential of Street Signs

C e ntr a l, H o ng Ko ng.

Ag ue d a, Po r tug a l

Sp ace fo r p l ay f ul p ub l ic e ng ag e m e nt

In H ong Kong’s spatial culture, using ever y available piece of lim ited space is the r ule. T he way space is used bet ween blocks and above the street for signage can be re-inter preted in a m ore play ful, publicly-eng ag ing way, such as the contrasting exam ple of the Um brella S treet in Agueda, Por tug al.

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Emerging Hong Kong Design

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Site Development Staging

Key Considerations

1 Site Selection

The following scenarios for urban emergence are not based on mathematical ‘rules’ for development. There are however, some underlying patterns. Emergent community spaces should:

2 Community Hub Insertion After site selection, from each location, an area within the site is selected to be an Emergent Community Hub; either by retrofitting an existing building or completely redeveloping an aging block. In the initial stage, the spaces that are retrofitted or redeveloped have an open plan on each floor, as well as common spaces that interact with the street, to accommodate a variety of activities that could be programmed by people.

3 Emergent Virtual Communities

• Strive towards a human scale, well-connected physically and psychologically. • Take advantage of Hong Kong’s multi-leveled, multi-layered nature while still maintaining a connection to the ground plane.

The Incite: Emergent Urban Communities website and social network lets people create and participate in events in each community hub. Depending on the kind of events, they can either be free or have a reasonable charge. This is done in order to encourage people from diverse social classes to be able to participate. The online system features forums and polling mechanisms, so that citizens can vote on what they want to do with their spaces.

4 Externalizing Hub Activities Emergent community patterns coming from within the hub will impact surrounding urban form. Nurtured from within, citizen groups will have the power to negotiate with public and private stakeholders to adapt nearby spaces and extend activities from the original hub onto podia, rooftops, and parks. This process is scaled up in a more organic fashion than traditional top-down planning; although top-down planning will still be required, it will be adapted to merge with an expanding smaller-scale, aggregate emergence of public spaces.

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• Possess variety—not all sites develop at the same pace or in the same direction; will depend on site restraints, community involvement, existing local characteristics. • High rises are an opportunity for more ground public space as the population grows and residential demands increase. High rises will replace the horizontal aging Kowloon blocks, making the ground plane more free for public and green spaces—things that will be needed with an increased population. Le Corbusier’s ‘tower in the park’ ideal could manifest itself in a dynamic way, in the bustling Hong Kong urbanity.


Site A Green Communities Emergence Diagrams + Site Plan + Site Section

65


Stage 1 Strategically Inserting Community Hub

Kowloon Block Redevelopment / Re-interpretation Many of the aging Kowloon Block structures in Mong Kok have already been replaced with residential and commercial high-rises. To preserve the relationship these typologies have to the street, an aging Kowloon Block from Site B is chosen to be reinterpreted as a multifunctional community space.

66


Site A Emergence Scenario Diagrams

67


Stage 1 Strategically Inserting Community Hub

Kowloon Blocks + Street Market

1:1000

ACCESS + PROXIMITY TO STREET MARKET

PROXIMITY TO PARK

MULTIPLE ACCESS ROUTES

68


Site A Emergence Scenario Diagrams

Street Section

1:200 HEIGHT RELATIVE TO ADJACENT KOWLOON BLOCKS: APPROX. 18M

RESIDENTIAL FLOOR HEIGHTS APPROX. 2.5M

A Kowloon Block of medium size, with close proximity to the site’s street market, and multiple access routes to different streets is chosen to be redeveloped into a community hub that will serve as the starting point for proceeding interventions throughout the site.

69


Stage 1 Strategically Inserting Community Hub

R o of to p

Leve l 5

Leve l 4

Leve l 3

Leve l 2

Leve l 1

Leve l 0

70


Site A Emergence Scenario Diagrams

Sectional Tr ansformation

T he new Com m unit y H ub space, a reinter pretation of the m edium size Kowloon B lock building, m aintains the height relationship to other blocks while transfor m ing the for m er residential inter ior floor heights from approx 2.5m to 3m for m ultipur pose uses.

Types of Spaces Prog ram m able acti vi t y ro om s

C om m un i t y reso urce a re as I nd i vidual wo r k zon e C om m un al wo r k zon e Lo unge a re as

71


Leve l 3

Leve l 2

Leve l 1

Leve l 0

72


Site A Emergence Scenario Diagrams

R o of to p

Leve l 5

Leve l 4

Leve l 3

73


Stage 2 ‘Inciting Communities’ Virtual Tool

T he incite: Em ergent U r ban Com m unities website is the tool which allows citizens to access infor m ation about the com m unit y spaces: where they are, what k inds of activities are happening and when they are tak ing place. T he site is designed in a welcom ing way, and is easy to navig ate for a var iet y of dem og raphics. 74


Site A Emergence Scenario Diagrams

Each Em ergent U r ban Com m unities location has its own profile page. H ere user s can see the schedule of what event is going on in each space, and how m any spots there are lef t should they wish to join. T hey can also see the open tim e where there are no events planned, and are invited to “incite� their own event in that slot. 75


When a user wants to sign up for an event, a pop- over g ives them a detailed event descr iption including who has incited the event, and who else is going. Som e events will be free while other s will require a fee; however all fees will be kept to a reasonable level to encourage people from a var iet y of dem og raphics to par ticipate.

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Site A Emergence Scenario Diagrams

O nce a user has signed up for an event, a confir m ation m essage infor ms them of the final details, including a tim e-sensitive passcode that lets them access the space for the event.

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Conver sations about im por tant m at ter s in the com m unit y are visible to all m em ber s. T his vir tual tool sets up a precedent of dem ocratic par ticipation, and g ives citizens a stronger voice in negotiating future decisions over ur ban developm ent.

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Site A Emergence Scenario Diagrams

V ir tual tools allow com m unit y m em ber s to m ake decisions on im por tant m at ter s concer ning the use of space in the area; crowd-funding plat for ms can source funds from outside the com m unit y as well, and g ive financial leverage to these com m unities.

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80


Site A Emergence Scenario Diagrams Stage 2 Engaged Citizens

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82


Site A Emergence Scenario Diagrams Stage 2 Communities Created & Empowered

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84


Site A Emergence Scenario Diagrams Stage 3 Parkette Repurposing

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86


Stage 4 Podia as Social Space

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88


Stage 5 Vertical Adaptation

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90


Stage 6 Provisional Rooftop Adaptation

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Stage 7 Block-Highrise Hybrid Typology with public rooftop

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94


Stage 8 Vertical Densification + Public Ground Level Connection

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96


Stage 9 Preserving the Public Realm at Multiple Levels

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1:500

98


Site A Plan

99


100


Site A Section

101


102


Site B Start-up Communities Site Plan + Site Section

103


104


Site B Start-up Communities

T his site is dom inated by com m ercially-pur posed str uctures. It is the m ost built up of all sites, and therefore presents a par ticular challenge for the prog ram of ur ban developm ent based on social em ergence. H owever, the significant oppor tunit y is com m erce itself; a com m unit y hub in this com m unit y would naturally lend itself to this ex isting culture. B y inser ting a com m unit y hub based on nur tur ing innovative star t-ups based on coshar ing spaces, it creates a ‘ win-win’ situation: star t-ups benefit from being near larger businesses, and larger businesses benefit from the creativit y that of ten or ig inate from star t-ups. In this site, m any of the old Kowloon blocks have already been dem olished when erecting high-r ises and m eg a-str uctures. Em ergent developm ent in this scenar io would take over podia, im plant itself in ex isting str uctures, and use sk y-br idges as linkages bet ween these dif ferent ex panding nodes.

Communit y Hub Emergent Space Us e

Em e rgent w rappe d str uctures Establish e d S ta r t- up O f f ices Sm all S ta r t- up O f f ices Fre e lance r Sh a re d Wo r k-s paces S ta r t- up C om m un i t y Lo unge A re a Fre e lance r Sh a re d Wo r k-s paces S ta r t- up C om m un i t y Lo unge A re a P ublic Lobby and C i rculation A re as

105


1:500

106


Site B Plan

107


108


Site B Section

109


110


Site C Cultural Communities Site Plan + Site Section

111


Unique Local Characteristic Music School

Kowloon Blocks + Pedestrian Circulation 112

1:1000


Site C Cultural Communities

B leeding into Site B, this site is still dom inated by com m ercial activit y, par ticular ly adjacent to the busy N athan Road. H owever, it is still com posed of m any ag ing Kowloon blocks that will need to be eventually replaced. T here are m any interesting businesses in the rem aining blocks. O ne unique local feature is a m usic school, tucked away near the top of a block that is also adjacent to a par k. A com m unit y hub sim ilar to that of Site A would wor k well in this site, par ticular ly if the focus of the hub would be for m usic and other cultural activities—m ak ing this site a hub for cultural com m unities. T he adjacent par k and blocks would be developed in accordance with the ex panding net wor k of citizens who want places to ex per ience and par ticipate in ar t and m usic, from pr ivate to public set tings.

Inter active

Open Space

Closed Space

Individual 113


1:500 114


Site C Plan

115


116


Site C Section

117


1:1000

118


Sites A + B + C Plan

119


1:2000

120


Sites A + B + C Plan

121


Emerging Hong Kong