It has been two weeks since I left Hong Kong, but literately every day during the past two weeks I talked about our experience in HK to other people. Now I am doing a short internship in Hangzhou, which is a beautiful city in mainland China (nobody should miss this city if he/she decide to travel around China), crowded like Hong Kong but very different in many ways.
First similar phenomenon is the way people crossing street, it scared me a lot because it seems that pedestrians never care about what color the street light is when they decide to go to the other side of the street. But it also indicates people used to be the owner of streets, they were used to walk freely on streets without vehicles. And similarly to what we saw in one of the video during a lecture in HK that people using street to do their daily activity, I have seen people in Hangzhou would just pull out chairs and sit in the middle of a narrow walkway, and chatting in a group of two or three like there is nobody. But the real situation is that pedestrians are passing by them all the time, and they have to walk on the car lane to pass through because these people sitting on chairs blocked their way. But it only happens in secondary or minor streets. I guess the reason why people still doing this is because first, they used to this living style, second, the design of their community is lack of public gathering space. People have to adapt their situation but it doe not always turn out to be a genius solution. The designer of our site did a great job on creating several public social space in different scale around the whole estate. Our interviewees, especially elderlies told us that they spend most of their time in the public space instead of staying inside. Children have different playground to chose, and their parents can sit around chatting with others while watching their kids.
For residences in Yat Tung Estate, mostly are low-incoming people and a lot immigrations with different religions and ethnicities, they really pay no attention on whether the design of this estate is responding to surrounding natural environment or not, topography or shoreline for instance. They like the shades created by surrounding high rise blocks, which makes the out door space very comfortable.
We didn’t get permit to go inside, but I guess there is no roof garden in any of those blocks that is very different from Harbin. Because our climate makes it impossible to stay outside during winter, and people don’t want to suffering from the heat during summer when they all have AC at home, the most valuable space is usually indoor commercial space that face to main streets. Thus to make more benefits, a lot new development will have high rise residential structures on top of commercial spaces on lower floor( we called them “skirt houses” 裙房 in Chinese), and the roof of these commercial houses becomes the community park for residences. It is very common both for low income housing and regular residential developments.
A good design can really benefit people’s life, creating comfortable public space is one of the most influential aspect, which I will definitely put a lot efforts on in my future projects.
Hopefully the following address works, here is the video. Yat Tung Estate
This I’m so glad and very appreciate that all three group members in our group shows respect to others’ work and are willing to try new things out. Our genius Jack borrowed a Phantom that added a fresh angle of view in our video,which though turns out not very useful for shooting in our site due to the frequent strong crossing wind; Yuyu learnt how to use after effect while making video; I explored more function of imovie and found out that photoshop can also make movie while watching others working. We planed several major questions and how to approach our interviewees before we went to the site, luckily people in Yat Tung Estate are very friendly, some of them even “allured” us to interview them.
I have never really get to know about low-incoming housing before, the biggest difference of this type of community than others is that outdoor public space becomes a big part of residences’ daily life because their own houses or rooms are relatively smaller. Elderly and children spend a lot time chatting with others in the community park and playground. Most people cares about public services like public transportation and medical services. But usually at early stage of this kind of development, those services are not fully established, which makes it very inconvenient to live there. But with the complement of later construction, Yat Tung Estate becomes a very ideal living neighborhood.
Two Pakistan kids living in Yat Tung Estate
It is quite different presentation experience than before to use video comparing using regular board or slides. Personally I find narrative is very useful to engage audience to follow the idea along with the image or footage related to the topic. But unlike normal final or midterm reviews, there is no communication between reviewers and us during the video, which means we have to ensure our story flows fluently and logic is presented clearly. Thus a general plan in advance is very significant for a team, which requires efficient communication for decision making processes.
Like what Nancy called me – the polar bear in our group, to me the most challenging thing in this trip is definitely keeping myself staying cool.Besides that, being productive and keep up with the intense pace everyday requires big comprise, which again I appreciate everyone’s contribution to our group project. After these two weeks, especially after meeting our alumni, Hong Kong can broad our horizon and I would like to work in Hong Kong in my early career. It was so great to see how UO graduates have been involved in so many amazing projects after their graduation, which motivated me to be more confidence about my future career. And we observed different varieties of potential positions that we can consider to apply in the future.
I really wish this program can last longer, it seems everyone no matter us UO students or HKU students all wish we can spend more time both on working on our project and exploring this terrific city. And if it is possible, invite HKU students to UO and work with them again will be an interesting comparison. For future students I would recommend watch some HK movies, especially old ones, it’ll be a good way to get familiar with the historical and modern HK.
Last week was intense but full of excitement and surprise. On the first day, the walk tour gave us a really good image of Hong Kong. We visited the most expensive tree around the world (for preserving the tree, the construction work had to dig a large amount of earth around the tree to work underneath it without moving the tree off site), which totally changed my impression about Hong Kongnese never care about nature. And with a series of lectures we had a glance about different types of housing that gathered different communities.
Gavin & Banyan tree
And I feel so lucky to work with my teammates, Jack and Yuyu. To me it was actually working with people from my own culture, but I can feel the difference between my group, which is made up by 3 people all speak mandarin, with other groups that made up by people who have to speak in a language that is not the first languages for all of them.We worked on the Yat Tung site, which is a public housing on Lantau island. After visiting the site, we researched a bit history about this relatively young community that just established less than 15 years. Those tall blocks are not human scale, but they create shade for people in such climate, and most people seems enjoying their time just sitting in the community space. We drew our mental map onsite, we found out that the circle plaza is actually not the geography center of this estate after comparing with the real map. However, all of us three drew it in the center of this estate because people’s daily life is centered here – it is not only the commercial center for this estate, but also has different functions that supports residences’ other daily activities, like barber shop, ATM, etc. We are eager to find out if people living here feel the same as us from interviews next week.
Our first weekend also impressed me with its heat and humidity. On Saturday, thanks to Crystal, and Bella as well, we went to the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant – Tim Ho Wan. It was definitely good, but the best thing of the day was walking along the Woman street. It was so Hong Kong style, local venders and delicious street food crowded together. After we went to the Time square and took a group selfie with Gumdam, enjoyed our shopping in totoro shop.
On Sunday, our trip to Macau probably created a long lasting memory to everyone. Like what they says “The road to happiness is strewn with setbacks,” there was a little drama happened at beginning, but everything turned out fine. We visited the Venetian casino, the pineapple casino. It was interesting to walk around in traditional Portuguese house and to discover remains of old streets and architectures. But nothing can compare to the experience at the plaza in front of st. Paul’s cathedral – our strong Bella opened that coconut.
Finally we arrived this magic city that everyone has been talking and dreaming about. The most impressive spot to me was Victoria Harbour, all the skyscrapers looks like growing up from the ground and trying to beat others with higher height. Just like the city, suddenly blooms up and everything grows so fast.
Thanks to Bella, today we had great Cantonese cuisine that I will never feel tired of. And our adventures of finding more delicious food, along with exploring this one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities in China, will never end.