In this era of globalization, rapid urban development results in drastic changes to cities. These changes become most apparent when the development alters a city’s recognizable layout or threatens its sustainable, socio-cultural milieu by departing from its environmental and historical values. Therefore, in the early stages of new urban developments, the parties responsible for the development should understand the stories behind existing urban contexts and historical development patterns. This paper focuses on the development approach for the rapid expansion of the reclaimed waterfront of Hong Kong’s Central District, which has been developed without regard for the onshore urban fabric. This new waterfront development resulted in huge mega-blocks that severed coherent, socio-physical connections with the waterfront; fueled land speculation; and destroyed existing urban and socio-cultural assets. Searching for a remedy, this study summarizes the history of Hong Kong’s waterfront, assesses Central’s downtown waterfront area’s historical phases of urbanization, and analyzes previous case studies of downtown waterfront development, in order to conclude that a few common points should be considered for any sustainable development approach.
|Keywords:||Downtown Waterfront, Victoria Harbour, Sustainable Urban Development|
Lecturer, Architecture Department of Engineering College, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates