The 30th Stratagem: Exchange the role of guest for the host
Spatial Poverty & Diversity

Hong Kong is a city that has always been at the ‘frontier’ to face a particular ‘battle’ – the lack of inhabitable space and its consequential spatial complexity.
Considering the cityʼs density and issues of privacy and intimacy, Hong Kong can be seen as an urban laboratory for future compact cities. The point of departure is to explore the scale and scope of the hyper-densified and complicated area as alternative dimensions in the urban fabric of
Sham Shui Po.
Sham Shui Po has been labelled as one of the poorest districts in HK. The area and its hyper-densed apartment typologies developed in Hong Kong since the 1950ʼs- focusing on how life unfolds inside. It is compact, complex, complicated, yet highly diversified. It has a high mix of inhabitants, ranging from grassroots locals, mainland immigrants, Southeast Asian groups, to many other ethnic groups. In this hybrid community, people have conceived countless ways to deal with the constraints and parameters. Their adaptation starts from spatial poverty, then shifts to spatial negotiation and re-interpretation, finally generates spatial diversity and re-invention. Many spatial surgeries we found in this unique urban scene is innovative and imaginative.
Part of the exercise is to map and convey the habitual infrastructures of the inhabitants’ lives – based on the theme of spatial poverty and spatial diversity. Through revealing all these hidden spatial agenda to a larger scale of social infrastructures and developing new typologies for spatial adaptation, this piece of work aims to demonstrate how the Hong Kong-ers have always turned the physical limitations into inspirational spatial inventions. This endurance and turnover, we call it ‘Verso’ ( 反客為主 ).


  • Title: Spatial Poverty & Diversity
  • Creator: TANG Yiu Lun, Jason

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