Hong Kong Heritage, and Upcoming Lecture on “The Urbanism of Ambition”

I’ve got a little bit of Hong Kong and China on the brain right now:

  • I discovered skimming feeds in my reader today that Metro Babel posted a four-part series reviewing a previous SFU City lecture on heritage building preservation in that-other-city-in-my-heart, Hong Kong. (Part 1, 2, 3, 4 and a round-up of conservation practices in part 5). I’m very happy with this particular find and the Metro Babel blog more generally — the author gives voice to many of the comparisons (in the best sense of the word) that came to my mind, when I was in Hong Kong last year, only perhaps a little less emotionally than I do because until I live in Hong Kong for a more extended period of time (and brush up my g’damn Cantonese accordingly), I am only ever a child in that city. I am especially appreciative of part 2, the policy/historical overview, for that reason. (The lecture is also available from the SFU City program in video. Yummy! This overall thread is, of course, a continuation of the Vancouver/Hong Kong fascination that started with Trevor Boddy’s Globe and Mail article about the documentary One Way Street on a Turntable.)
  • As part of “attending” (in quotes because I’m doing some schedule juggling) the SCARP Symposium happening at UBC on Friday, Richard and I are back at Harbour Centre for China: The Urbanism of Ambition with Thomas Campanella, author of the book Concrete Dragon. It’s at 514 West Hastings on Thursday, March 12th at 7pm – yes, that tomorrow! Be sure to RSVP, as it may be full of other Symposium-ites. Some SCARPies are also meeting up for drinks afterwards, find me if you’d like to join in.

I used to talk about Hong Kong and Vancouver being so similar – two places that are undoubtedly products of their colonial backgrounds and continental contexsts, yet which diverge from those contexts in interesting ways. The untrammeled Vancouverism being questioned/explored in a book like Vancouver Matters mixes in my mind with dinnertime conversations from my father, unyielding in his very modern pride and love for the place of his birth, family and adult life – a place, I discovered, that’s been torn up, paved over, filled with freeways, probably half a dozen times since he moved on.

Right, better get humming on that oral history project…

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