Fotan is one of the industrial areas that helped Hong Kong become a global manufacturing centre in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, before all of the factories moved across the border to China. Now it’s home to a hodgepodge of odd businesses and about 100 artists, many of whom live and work in the Wah […]

Only the Trams Remain

Lee Chi-man, Hong Kong’s answer to Guillaume St-Jean, finds old photos of Hong Kong streetscapes and heads to the spot where they were taken to replicate them. So far, he has compiled around 400 scenes, showing just how drastically Hong Kong has changed over the course of the twentieth century. The photos above illustrate how […]

Posted in: Architecture, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, History, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Only the Trams Remain , , , ,

The Lying Down Game

Photos by Neath at Walking Turcot Yards It’s easy to read a lot into the Lying Down Game (otherwise known as planking), in which people lie face down in odd places. You could see it as relational art that challenges our preconceptions of how to behave in public space. You could see it as a […]

Afraid of the Sun

Footbridge between IFC and the Central ferry piers

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More Pedestrian Streets, Less Pollution

Hong Kong’s government has finally decided that sacrificing its air quality in favour of cars, buses and trucks isn’t such a good thing after all. Yesterday, in a somewhat surprising departure from its reluctance to make big plans, the government pledged to fight roadside air pollution by revamping the city’s vast bus network, planting more […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Environment, Politics, Public Space, Transportation by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on More Pedestrian Streets, Less Pollution , , , , , ,

End of the Line

At the southeastern corner of Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood — the cape that put the Hoek in the area’s original Dutch name, Roode Hoek — almost nothing is used according to its original purpose. A rail barge has been repurposed as a waterfront museum, a warehouse has become a massive Fairway supermarket, some streetcar tracks […]

How Bike-Sharing Changes the City

Photo by cagliostro The launch of Bixi, Montreal’s new bike-sharing system, has been nothing short of spectacular. Despite early problems — faulty lock mechanisms have led to the theft of dozens of bikes — it has been more successful than anyone imagined. In fact, Montrealers have taken so well to Bixi that Stationnement de Montréal, […]

Pursuing the NYPD’s Panopticon

Photo by Barry Hoggart During New York’s wild real estate boom, nearly every brownstone in Harlem seemed slated for renovation. So when the NYPD introduced its latest surveillance technology, Sky Watch — a mobile, collapsable prison-style surveillance tower equipped with at least half a dozen cameras — it was a foregone conclusion that its deployments […]

Posted in: Society and Culture, United States by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Pursuing the NYPD’s Panopticon , , ,

À chacun son toit

Variety of rooftops in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Posted in: Architecture, Asia Pacific by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on À chacun son toit , , ,

Toronto’s Poster Plants

When I wrote about the political and cultural importance of posters (not to mention their aesthetic contribution to the city by making it look messy and lived-in), I never considered that they could also have an environmental benefit. Luckily, two artists in Toronto, Eric Cheung and Sean Martindale, have demonstrated exactly how this can be […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Canada, Environment, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Toronto’s Poster Plants , , , ,

Handmade Community

Craft market in Tai Hang. Photo by Mary Cheung On a muggy afternoon, a few dozen people have come to check out a small craft sale at the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre in Shek Kip Mei. Milling about, they chat and nibble on snacks while browsing the wares. There are necklaces, drawings, dolls, bags […]

Ghost Bikes

I spotted my first ghost bike — a memorial to a fallen bicyclist — on Second Avenue in the East Village, chained to a signpost sprouting from the quiet little park in front of the the old stone St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery church. Perhaps that’s why it seemed both dissonant and appropriate — despite the proximity of […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Society and Culture, Transportation, United States by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Ghost Bikes , , , ,

Manhattanhenge and Montrealhenge

Photo by Arianys León Twice a year, a few weeks before and after the summer solstice, the setting sun aligns perfectly with the east-west axis of Manhattan’s streets in a phenomenon that has been dubbed “Manhattanhenge,” a reference to the way the sun aligns with Stonehenge during the solstices. It got quite a bit of […]

Reclaiming Public Space

Top left photo by John Batten; others by Christopher DeWolf The brown leather chesterfield sits incongruously amid the parked buses, concrete paving and grey metal railings at the Tai Hang bus terminus. In the afternoon heat, a cat stretches over the length of the sofam but after sunset, it’s where bus drivers and passers-by sit […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Reclaiming Public Space , , ,