The Walled Villages of Hong Kong: Typology and Continuity

Dyson, James (2022) The Walled Villages of Hong Kong: Typology and Continuity. Self-Published.

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The Hong Kong of popular image is the city of towers around Victoria Harbour. Once upon a time this was an agricultural landscape, its plains and coves interspersed with wooded mountains, settlements, temples and impressive fortified walled villages, such as Nga Tsin Wai Tsuen, the village dominating the 1846 view of Kowloon by Lt T. B. Collinson. Amidst today’s chaotic metropolis there still remain vestiges of these villages with their characteristic rows of houses separated by narrow lanes. Sadly Nga Tsin Wai is not one of them, having been demolished as recently as 2016.
At a time of intense pressure locally on development with the opening up of access to mainland China, and internationally for sustainable urban futures, to what extent do these historic settlements offer a viable model? This site comprises a study of the historic typologies, a look at the changes brought about in the 20th century, and a mapping and photographic study of each relevant village documenting the state of play around 2020. It is hoped this short summary will help in some way to document their origins and typology, raise awareness and stimulate some protection for what remains.

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