Public space as commodity: Social production of the Hong Kong waterfront

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Although there has been a long tradition of public space-related land speculation and development, the recent success of the High Line in New York has highlighted the transformative effect carefully designed and curated public spaces can have on the local economy. By prioritising exchange value over use value, governments and developers are exploiting the production of public spaces as a means for financial, political and other forms of returns. This paper argues that commodification of public space both transcends and encompasses other processes such as privatisation and commercialisation, and it is essential to study how it is manifested in different urban contexts. This paper sets out to examine how commodification of public space has taken form in Hong Kong, a global city where public spaces have mostly been an afterthought and box-checking exercise in the planning process. By reflecting on the social production of three recently completed waterfront public spaces across the city, this paper suggests that even though the commodification of public space has taken on very different forms in Hong Kong, the public spaces in question all display certain characteristics and features that can be attributed to the decline of publicness and inclusivity in public space.

Sidor (från-till)146-155
Antal sidor10
TidskriftProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Urban Design and Planning
StatusPublished - 2020

Bibliografisk information

An earlier version of this paper was presented in the 2019 AESOP YA Conference and won the Best Paper Prize. The prize included a small cash award, the opportunity to publish in Urban Design and Planning, and an open access fee waiver.

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Kulturgeografi
  • Sociologi (exklusive socialt arbete, socialpsykologi och socialantropologi)
  • Arkitektur


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