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Places from the past lost in new towns: Hong Kong’s old villages

2018-1-19
DIJK, Terry Van
WEITKAMP, Gerd
The metropolis of Hong Kong has expanded enormously since 1960, by means of a New Town strategy. On its main land, self contained cities were built to accommodate the population growth of as much as a million inhabitants per decade. Allegedly without paying much attention to built cultural heritage. This paper reports on a systematic comparison for all New Towns to see how much heritage has survived. Standardised maps were made showing the pre-New Town land use (the villages in particular), the New Town master plan, and the current land use. Most villages that existed in 1960 are still there, although they are rarely integrated as an asset for the New Town. The appreciation for built cultural heritage did increase over the last two decades. This confirms the hypothesis that after a period where housing to accommodate in-migration was most important, currently the need for a Hong Kong identity is growing.