Traversing the Transect: Reconsidering Village Development at Lei Yue Mun

This course explored the core skills and practices related to landscape planning and site design and in the context of the surroundings of Lei Yue Mun (literally Carp’s Gate), a village and former quarry site located at the eastern gateway into Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. By beginning with sectional analyses, students were to come up with landscape systems strategies that tackle the environmental, social, and cultural issues of the site that are related across multiple scales—from the detail of an edge, to the structure and organization of community spaces, and ultimately, to larger contexts of the area. The concept of the ‘transect’ organized the research, site explorations, and design this semester. The transect is an important conceptual model and planning tool in landscape planning and design. It suggests a way of working that is sectional rather than planar, and systematically considers the characteristics and dynamics within and across transect zones. Habitats, communities, and infrastructure at steep site are often linearly organized along contour lines — the use of transects imply an ambition to cut across these layers, discovering the relationships between them and to the form, substrates, and topography of the site. As a form of sectional exploration, the transect also implies an approach to site that is deeply layered and concerned with the materials and structures below the ground, or the flows and atmospheres that rise above it.