“The people who design the streets in Hong Kong ignore the need for seating areas, so people in the neighborhood put some furniture they don’t need to good use”
Everything is designed according to a standard formula that doesn’t take into account the unique qualities of a given area. But in traditional urban fabric, “the configuration of space was developed gradually by people through time,” she says. “It allows [people in] the neighbourhood to express the way they want the space to be.”
One thing the pair noticed when studying abandoned furniture was the type of person who uses it: old. With the notable exception of teenagers, says Chan, young people just don’t engage with the city in the same way. “Maybe they like staying at home because they pay all their salary towards it,” she says. “I’m like an old guy — I like to take a newspaper or some food and enjoy the wind and air.”
November 10, 2011
“Now, Kreuzberg can add another notch in its hard-scrabble belt with the October unveiling of the community-oriented Markthalle Neun. Originally opened in 1891, the market hall has returned, just as storied as the neighborhood it inhabits.
During World War II, the market hall’s windows were darkened with black paint and commerce closed. More recently, Berlin’s municipal government put it up for sale to the highest bidder and Kaiser’s — a German big box chain grocer — became slated to set up shop. True to form, Kreuzberg’s residents responded. In 2009, 500 of them gathered at the market to drink coffee in a publicity move that resulted in the municipality’s agreeing to sell the space instead to the “highest concept”.
They conceive of the hall as a community meeting place to foster dialogue and education about human-scale agriculture; rather than a luxury market, they hope it will be a convergence point where real people can buy real food that they take home and prepare themselves”.
“Mongkok might be one of the world’s most crowded places, but sometimes all you need to do to escape is to make a right turn down a quiet alleyway. That’s what I discovered when I was walking from home to the Flower Market the other day. Instead of taking the usual route along Sai Yee Street, I ducked into the laneway that runs behind it and discovered a kind of parallel university of greenery, graffiti and informal living space.
(…) Halfway down the alley is a Chinese altar, some cupboards and a rack of clothes. I’m guessing it’s used by the street sweepers who work around here. Inside the altar are cards representing the various Chinese gods; several lottery tickets are taped to the side. Ash from spent joss sticks covers the altar floor”.
Cas Oorthuys – Station Square, Central Station, Amsterdam, 1965