Back to everyday life : inspiration for urban design in the continuous metropolitan transformation of Hong Kong

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Everyday life, which comprises our routine habits and “milieu”, is extraordinary and thus deserves our particular concern. However, in recent decades, a metropolitan transformation process has prompted Hong Kong to evolve into a global financial center, in which the interactions between ordinary people and constructed environments have been fragmentary. The rapid growth of high-rise building and rational- and economic-oriented urban planning is engulfing the specific and dynamic daily lives of city-users. The emerging image of transformation and its continuous effects on the globalization of capitalism have triggered a critical attention regarding the quality of everyday life (i.e., the everydayness of everyday life) within rational urban planning. The everyday lives of ordinary people are usually full of a diverse variety of minor practices. A society is constituted by definite practices, thus, these practices cautiously seek equilibrium among the daedal spaces, various regimes, tangible desires, and metropolitan transformation. This paper first reviews the literature on urban transformation and planning. Then, using the Wan Chai District of Hong Kong as a case study with three dimensions, it highlights the importance of an everyday life perspective based on the “small” but creative practices of citizens, to shed light on the transforming influences of radical urban renewal. Regarding the changing environment and urban configuration, this paper further identifies some of the contradictions between government plans and the everyday practices of ordinary people to provide insight into how to achieve a more inhabitable urban environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-146
Number of pages18
JournalInternational journal of the constructed environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Everyday life
  • Management
  • Policy
  • Transformation
  • Urban design


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