Reimagining Sham Shui Po

Photo credit: shumei_there / flickr

Photo credit: shumei_there / flickr

More than just an electronics market as most people think, Sham Shui Po is a place thriving with culture and history.

IMG_2711

Photo credit: shumei_there / flickr

It is here that James Wong, the famous Hong Kong lyricist, grew up and later became an icon of popular culture in the city.

IMG_5163

Photo credit: shumei_there / flickr

It is a place where people are actively trying to help out on the neighbourhood level, even self-organizing to form groups that hand out food to street sleepers and low income elderly.

Photo credit: shumei_there / flickr

Photo credit: shumei_there / flickr

The plight of poverty is clearly felt, especially when one sees the few scores of homeless people sleeping without a roof and making the bare space under a flyover their homes.

Some people are actively creating solutions for the district, such as operating accessible taxi services for wheelchair users, providing food for the marginalized and the much needed, offering affordable and decent housing solutions to single mums and their kids, or working with new immigrants from mainland China to assist them in adapting to life in Hong Kong.

Photo credit: shumei_there / flickr

Photo credit: shumei_there / flickr

The government is making much efforts in urban renewal projects in Sham Shui Po, with some streets almost cleared out for such projects. While more modern houses provide better quality of life to people, the old connections in the community seem to have lost in such processes.

Photo credit: shumei_there / flickr

Photo credit: shumei_there / flickr

Looking at the census data, as visualized by Gazeteer, we can also see that the population in Sham Shui Po is also undergoing an ageing trend, which poses interesting questions for us:

  • How is the current welfare policies having an impact in the community?
  • What do people think about life in this community?
  • What do people wish to see more in the community?
  • How should we prepare so that people are taking proper care of when they grow old in 20 years?
  • How is people’s changing attitudes towards jobs having an impact on what businesses are flourishing in the district?

and many more.

In fact, as one the cultural centers of the 1960s-1980s Hong Kong, Sham Shui Po was the place that gave birth to many famous singers, artists, writers, and lyricists in Hong Kong. In more recent years, the cultural life has dwindled in this district, as more modern places of entertainment has sprouted in other parts of Hong Kong. Could it be revived in the Internet age? If so, how?

Perhaps a social lab would be step one toward answering this question?

P.S.: You can find more photos about Sham Shui Po from this lovely album on flickr 🙂

 

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