Remaking City Futures: Heritage and Urban Regeneration in the Asia-Pacific

Department: Landscape Architecture
Active Dates: January 2015 – June 2017

Project Title: Remaking City Futures: Heritage and Urban Regeneration in the Asia-Pacific

Principal Investigator: Cecilia L. Chu (DLA)

Project Funder:  Seed Funding for Basic Research, HKU (in preparation for application)


This research project aims to contribute to the scholarship of urban futures in the Asia-Pacific by examining heritage conservation as a specific kind of future-oriented urban intervention through which different social actors participate in reshaping the forms of cities. More specifically, it explores how these dynamics have been unfolding in Macau, Hong Kong and Singapore, three metropolises that have witnessed a significant surge of public debates and advocacy activities on the conservation of natural and cultural heritage in recent years. Through a series of interviews with built environment professionals, government officials, NGOs and other community members involved with conservation work, this research will illustrate how accelerating urban change have helped galvanize particular ethical positions toward urban regeneration and produce new knowledge of cities. The comparison of situations in Macau, Hong Kong and Singapore will further elucidate how these initiatives have been significantly shaped by specific historical experiences and that the different colonial “heritage” of each place has continued to serve as key sources for generating collective aspirations for the urban future.

Anticipated Outputs:

  • Two book chapters for publication in edited books.
  • Two scholarly articles to be submitted to refereed journals for publication (targeted journals: Geoforum, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Studies ).
  • A series of public forums on urban regeneration and conservation in Hong Kong (organized by Docomomo Hong Kong Chapter).


Outputs Already Disseminated:

  • “Spectacular Macau: Visioning Futures for a World Heritage City.” A refereed article published in Geoforum, October 2015.

  • Spectacular Cities of Our Time.” An editorial article for a Special Issue published in Geoforum, October 2015.

  • “Envisioning Urban Futures: Spectacle, Heritage, and Emergent Activism in Postcolonial Macau and Hong Kong.” A conference paper presented at “Urban Asia: Futures Pasts, Present and Yet to Come,” a workshop organized by National University of Singapore, February 22-23, 2016.
  • “Urban Dialogues: Reconfiguring Hong Kong’s Central District.” A public forum organized by Docomomo Hong Kong Chapter, March 24 2016.
  • “Cities by Experts for the People? In Search of Spaces of Hope in the Intersection of Power and Knowledge.” A conference panel organized for the Association for Asian Studies in Asia (AAS-in-Asia, Kyoto, June 24-27, 2016).
Enlarge Photo: Urban Dialogues: Reconfiguring Hong Kong’s Central District