Hong Kong 68

I found this film of Hong Kong in 1968 on polis yesterday and it inspired to me to explore how Hong Kong has changed over the last forty three years.  Hong Kong 68 is a short video by Impactist that gives a quick view Hong Kong during 1968. Through the film the city is seen  from the air, the harbor and the streets, according to polis:  “a constantly changing landscape and yet it maintains the same feel as it does today.”

During the 1960’s Hong Kong’s population was about 3 million people, with half of the population under the age of 25.  Today Hong Kong’s population is over 7 million.  With this addition of 4 million people Hong Kong’s built environment has also grown substantially.  One of the most significant additions since 1968 is the vast amount of public housing towers and “new towns” constructed in the New Territories.  My photos below show a few of my favorite places in Hong Kong that did not exist in 1968.

Contrasting old and new towers on Hong Kong Island.

The Lippo Centre by Paul Rudolph, completed 1988.

Public housing towers in the New Territories.  Many of these projects were built in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

View of Hong Kong Island from the Star Ferry, featured in the film.

Urban Photo also shares images some interesting photos of old Hong Kong in their post that shares a story originally in the South China Morning Post on August 3, 2009. More about my recent trip to Hong Kong can be found on my other posts about housing and  general photos of my travels.

- Melissa

Film: Urbanized

Gary Hustwit, the director of the documentary Helvetica, is working on a new documentary about the design of cities. Urbanized looks at the issues and strategies as well as the people that are shaping how our cities develop.  The film tries to explain how the design of cities effects our lives:

Who is allowed to shape our cities, and how do they do it? Unlike many other fields of design, cities aren’t created by any one specialist or expert. There are many contributors to urban change, including ordinary citizens who can have a great impact improving the cities in which they live.

Look at the kickstarter campaign for more information about how you can support this new project.  Urbanized is still in production and will premiere later this year.


– Melissa

City Beautiful: Bikes Continued

Inspired by Amy’s post, I decided to seek out a project I heard about a while back from various different sources. Bicycle Portraits is an effort to photograph “everyday South Africans and their bicycles.”

As someone who has traveled to and around South Africa a total of four times since 2005, I can say that biking has definitely become more popular in the past six years. On my first visit to Cape Town it would never have occurred to me to bike between the picturesque and disheveled neighborhoods that characterize that city full of paradoxes. But this time around (I just returned from two weeks there last month) I was close to astonished by how many people I saw biking around not just for pleasure but as what seemed like a growing form of transportation.

With that in mind, this project will (hopefully) grow in popularity with bicycles themselves!

- Ariana

Film: Dharavi, Slum for Sale

A new documentary by Director Lutz Konermann portrays the story of the controversial redevelopment of Dharavi in Mumbai, India.  Dharavi, the largest slum in India and possibly the largest in the world, is home to over one million people and millions of dollars of industry. US trained developer Mukesh Mehta’s Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP) seeks to demolition the slum and build high-rise buildings that will both rehouse the existing squatters and provide extra housing to be sold at market rates that will fund the rest of the project.

The documentary, Dharavi, Slum for Sale, will be showing next week in New York as part of the Center for Architectures Jugaad Urbanism Film Series. For a full review of the film read Polis the blog.

- Melissa