Rural Urban Ecology: Central’s Operational Landscapes
Platform: Ecologies Sustainability Regeneration (ESR)

Related Staff : Bolchover, Joshua P.

Students: Au-yeung Wing Man, Cheung Vernon Wai-Lun, Hao Xinyang, Tan Xiaoying, Wang Jiangning, Che Yin Ling, Chong Jessica Ho Ching, Deng Kehao, Ho Hui Ching Prisca, Kay Bernard Ian, Ma Jun Yin Wang Ying, Wong Connie Yik Tung

Studio name: Architecture & Urban Design

Ecologies Sustainability Regeneration

A journey from city to the countryside which revealed the landscapes in different states of transition. These spatial characteristics are documented and pieced together in the form of a seamless photographic panorama, a story of the changes taking place within the territory.

The studio investigates Central’s unique urban ecology by examining its network of influence on the HKSAR territory. The challenge of the studio is to reveal Central’s role in shaping Hong Kong’s operational landscapes and to make these hidden dynamics visible. Each project aims to understand, disrupt and alter this ecology, harnessing its forces towards new spatial outcomes and future scenarios.

An urban ecology is both natural and synthetic: the resultant interaction between different systems of economy, labour, waste, and energy together with biological and landscape processes. It is a dynamic system in constant flux, shaped by both global and local political forces. As these forces and systems interact and touch the ground they inscribe the earth: landscapes become programmed, structures are built and ecosystems altered.

The hypothesis of the studio is that Hong Kong’s Central district is a critical node in this system. It exerts flows of economy, knowledge and processes of transactional exchange that form operational landscapes, designed to accumulate capital. This produces a diversity of spatial products incorporating container ports, logistic centres, corporate headquarters, together with scrap yards, waste dumping sites, and illegal storage facilities. These relationships can be described as an ecology with multiple inputs, outputs, and feedback loops. Stability and equilibrium can quickly shift into more volatile relationships with potentially harmful results: the degradation of landscapes; pollution of water systems; abandonment of buildings or the closure of industries.

As shifts occur, spaces are altered and the ground marked. Over time, spatial products become obsolete, remain, evolve, or new types originate. Central’s future is questioned through interrogating its present operation within a broader urban cross-section that extends to the edge of the HKSAR.