Wherever you look in Hong Kong, it doesn’t take long to spot a building site, a crane or some scaffolding. There always seems to be construction underway, with many parts of the city still a work-in-progress, such as the West Kowloon Cultural District and the Kai Tak Development. With the local environment changing so rapidly, it’s difficult to imagine what the city will look like it 20 or even 10 years time.
A new exhibition in Central’s City Gallery, however, really can give us a window into the future of Hong Kong. ‘Hong Kong Impression’, is organised by the Development Bureau and the Planning Department, and showcases the past and future work of the city planners and developers, providing an interactive way to see all the changes taking place in the city.
In its ‘Visionary Hong Kong’ section, the exhibition features interactive models of five future developments in Hong Kong. These miniature models, which light up and move around, include the designs for several new towns proposed in Northern New Territories and the development of the former Kai Tak Airport.
Visitors can walk around and explore what will likely become the latest additions to Hong Kong’s landscape. While the models themselves are small and not very detailed, this installation provides an insightful, if not alarming look at the rapid growth and expansion of the city, as well as the places where Hongkongers may be living, working and relaxing in the coming years.
Another highlight of the exhibition is the virtual reality journey through the new West Kowloon Cultural District. Visitors can don VR goggles and have a 360 degree view of some of the new cultural buildings and theatres that are currently under construction.
While these new developments certainly look impressive, the exhibition largely ignores the fact that not everyone is happy with some of the visions for Hong Kong’s future landscape. Many of these new building proposals are actually so-called “white elephant” projects, which some argue don’t benefit society and damage the environment. But if you’ve heard about these white elephant projects and want to know what they really entail, this is your chance to find out.
For those who want to get hands on at the exhibition, there are also an interactive art, sketching and Lego workshops, where visitors can discover their inner architects and designers, and bring to life their own ideas about what a desirable and liveable Hong Kong should look like. Participation is free but you’ll need to enrol online in advance.
If you can withstand the hot weather, why not also take a moment to stop out side the exhibition hall and marvel at the large, futuristic ‘Mobius strip’ sculpture. Eye-catching in itself, the twisting, circular sculpture also has a small space inside where young local artists can display their works and ideas about Hong Kong.
The exhibition runs until November 30 at the City Gallery in City Hall, Central. Closed on Tuesday. Admission is free.