The Tortuous Path to Preservation

The Tung Fat Building seemed like the perfect opportunity for Victoria Allan to venture into property development. The nine-storey, 1960s-era building was a classic example of Hong Kong’s postwar tong lau tenements, known for their minimalist Streamline Moderne architecture, and it occupied a prime spot on the waterfront of fast-gentrifying Kennedy Town. But Allan, who […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, Interior Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on The Tortuous Path to Preservation , , , , , ,

Urban Rebirth in South Africa

Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg The skies threatened rain, but the streets in Braamfontein were buzzing. On De Beer Street, crowds spilled out of the ground-floor bar of the Bannister, a hotel with retro 60s signage. Across the street, the scene was even more intense at the Neighbourgoods Market, which every Saturday transforms a parking garage into […]

“Good” Gentrification

Last month, when Space Invader was looking for friendly walls to mount his tile-based art, the French street artist found an enthusiastic response in a place far from the galleries and graffiti of Sheung Wan: Sham Shui Po. “The reception was really good,” says Lauren Every-Wortman, a curator at the HOCA Foundation, which sponsored Space […]

New Life in Old Beijing, Part III

This is the final installment in a three-part series on preservation and urban transformation in Beijing’s hutongs. Half a kilometre from Tiananmen Square, an unexpected aroma wafts through the Beijing hutongs: fresh-roasted coffee. The source of that smell is just as surprising. Housed in a two-storey structure that was at various times a government-run printing […]

Creative Urbanity in Taipei

Treasure Hill, Taipei. Photo by the Kozy Shack When Chou Yu-jui was growing up near Yongkang Street, an old part of Taipei near two of the city’s universities, it was a quiet neighbourhood of wooden Japanese cottages, small shops and back alleys filled with potted plants. Ten years ago, it started to change. Small cafés, […]

The Ghosts of Oil Street

Oil Street. Photo by Eric To This story was originally published in the November 2010 edition of Muse, the new-defunct review of Hong Kong arts and culture. It was a hot night when I sat inside the cluttered studios of the pirate radio station FM 101, six floors up inside an industrial building in Kwun […]

Slow Heal

The Montreal metro being built under de Maisonneuve, early 1960s For a long time, the boulevard de Maisonneuve was one of my least favourite streets in Montreal. It was built in the 1960s by linking and widening four distinct streets: de Montigny, Burnside, St. Luc and Western. The final product was a Frankenstein’s monster of […]

I Feel Bad For Transports Québec

Turcot in 1967, by Gabor Szilasi There were quite a few differences between the protest against police brutality, which took place some weeks ago, and the mobilization against the Turcot interchange. For one thing, the march against police brutality was dominated by police in full-on riot gear struggling to handle violent protesters. The mobilization against […]

La Belle Province

Ugly building on the main street of Saint Georges de Beauce Many of Quebec’s smaller cities are grim, depressing places. Like most cities in North America, they witnessed a period of downtown decline during the suburban explosion of the fifties and sixties. People moved out, shops closed, and buildings were razed and replaced by parking […]