Project by
Lau Cheung Hau, John
Master Track
Luc Willekens, Bas Gremmen, Leo van den Burg

Hong Kong as a City-state, From Waste to Sovereignty

Problem description
The world today is going more globalized. Network Cities, Global Cities, Informational Cities are the terms to define these important nodes in the world. Different theorists such as Manuel Castells, David Harvey, Saskia Sassen addressed the time-space compression during this period led to a class of economic elite with multi-national background. The historic Nation-state cannot protect its people with its own culture, claims and needs but cooperate with the multi-national elites to gain benefit from the Economy. No matter how hard the individuals worked, their own lifestyles cannot be protected within the Net.

Hong Kong as a Collective standing from the influences of People’s Republic of China

On the other hands, Global Economy resulted as neo-colonized age. Developed Nation-states working with multinational companies offers economical benefits to the developing states to acquire harmful effect to the human race. Poor working condition, toxic e-waste, monopolizing culture, all these are done economic activities but colonization in disguise.

This project try to negotiate between the Global Economy and the Local Collectives Experience. The Project will use Hong Kong as an experimental ground.  By having a self-governed city-state with de facto sovereignty, Hong Kong could potentially gain back its own cultural identity and local collective experience within the Global Economy, especially resisting  from the influence of People’s Republic of China, the second largest economic entity.

Hong Kong as Global E-waste dumping ground. Source: Basel Action Networks

Research questions

  • How can a city-state reinstate its sovereignty in the global economy?
  • How could the global economy help to reconstruct local community?

Goal of your project
Dialectical approach is found with a paradoxical situation with E-waste massively imported and stored in highly developed land, Hong Kong. The situation happened because China established the ‘Green fence’ towards the E-waste and the leftovers are stuck in the entrepôt, Hong Kong. Though it may be a potential disaster for a compacted city, it maybe also a chance for a resources-deficit city to reconstruct its industry and craftsmanship, leading to a pluralistic local collective experience.

In City Scale, the Recycling Infrastructure aims to create a river providing different resources at different Locations, thus create a different neighbourhood with pluralistic collective experience. This allows the city to re-cultivate its industry and craftsmanship from global  resources, instead of solely being manipulated with the multi-national economic activities.

Tunnel As Manufacturing Belt

Design Description
For Urban Strategy, the abandoned Infrastructure of the continuous tunnel would adapt with  engineered sections according to the demand of the recycling material. Starting from the City ( from West Kowloon Terminal ), and the harbour ( Nam Cheong ), the products are being gradually disassemble and sorted with different locations ( with the connection to the Ventilation Buildings ). Different facilities and industry are naturally clustered around the Ventilation with the easy provision of resources, resulted as a natural archipelago of collective experience. At the end of the tunnel towards China, the finished products / natural resources ( such as gold / Copper ) are directly exported to Shenzhen, where the world factory located.

Factory Collage

For Building Scale, a complex of Recycle Factory, Harbour, Market and leisure Landscape is done to act as the activated enclave for the area. Surrounded by massive housing projects and school, the district is activated by massive amount of people. Paradoxically, the district does not vibrant on its own because of the connection with Metro network. The project aimed to create the complex which could provide jobs and public space that linked the neighbourhood together. By locating the recycling industrial process around the school areas, students could potentially develop their sense of sustainability through the natural enjoyment of the landscape.