Hong Kong Fantasies

A Visual Expedition into the Future of a World-Class City

Fall 2008/2009 @ Berlage Institute Rotterdam
First year postgraduate program
01 September 2008 / 24 July 2009

This studio will fantasise that Hong Kong—a city struggling to hold on to its reputation as a world financial centre, a global shopping Valhalla, and a liveable city with compelling architecture and magnificent nature—will make a comeback as an exemplary world-class city. What does it take, in our global economy, to be a world-class city?

It’s no longer enough to look at a city’s GDP, its rate of tourism, its conference centres, stadiums, or shopping centres to evaluate its performance. Great cities have always offered a more fundamental, more abstract quality – a sense of well-being among their citizens. This studio attempts to define that quality, and to explore how the design of urban space can enhance it.

As our planet becomes increasingly urban, it is essential to set new standards for our cities, and to reassess the relationship between citizenship, well-being and the urban environment. Taking Hong Kong as a test case, Hong Kong Fantasies proposes a more expansive definition of ‘world-class’. These new standards could help to raise the bar of urban life globally, and create cities that will be emulated not simply for their economic performance, but for the civic values they display and promote. This fictional urban resuscitation reveals not only the shortcomings of Hong Kong, but also the flaws in the tools with which we assess all cities. In order to improve our cities, we may also have to refine our standards of judgment.


Prof. Winy Maas, Ulf Hackauf, Tihamer Salij


Zetao Chen, Pedram Dibazar, Marco Galasso, Dong Woo Kang, Eunjin Kang, Andreas Karavanas, Young Il Kim, Na ra Lee, Chen-Jung Liu, Luca Picardi, Nuria Pujol Caire, Jad Semaan, Timur Shabaev, Janki Shah, Xiaodi Yang


Berlage Institute Rotterdam