Tactical interiority; Hong Kong’s “lived” interiors as praxis for tactical living in High-Density landscapes

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Within Hong Kong’s neoliberal landscape, what insights can an interrogation of its domestic interior deliver in terms of spatial and tactical adaptability in the context of volumetrically compressed living? As an urban necessity, dwelling has globally become a malleable urban resource, part and parcel of speculative development far beyond the control of the individual (Levin and Wright 1997; UNECE 2016). Demonstrative of planning and social policy, housing standards have become socio-spatial registers (Marshall 1950), that at the larger scale essentially expose misread criteria that affect social mobility and the “well-being” of all citizens (Morris 1961). However, beyond the structural issues lies a “lived” reality. The need for equal housing (Yung and Lee 2014), and the rising criticism of public housing’s punitive point system (Yau 2012), has forced the “practice” of dwelling to become a “tactical” environment. In view of Hong Kong’s spatial recoil, this paper commences from a position that sees compressed interiors as a mirror for social needs. First, the investigation of interiors questions how space is tactically mechanized–how and by what means–against compressed living that maximizes moments of “micro-resistance.” Second, in an ethnographic sense, it posits the square-foot-society concept, that triangulates the conditions of quotidian everydayness with the spatial technical affordances that become specific to groups, peoples, and cultures with their customs and habits. As a conclusion the paper harnesses the “tactical” to formulate alternatives to challenge planning attitudes that view compression as a natural consequence of sustainability and at the larger scale of Hong Kong’s approach to Urbanization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-371
Number of pages26
JournalInteriors: Design, Architecture, Culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2018


  • dwelling
  • Hong Kong
  • interior
  • Lived
  • quotidian
  • tactical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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