CUHK Organized ‘Magic Carpet: Re-envisioning Community Space in Sai Ying Pun’A Street Cinema for All in Mid-Autumn Festival
Roll out a carpet, hang up a screen. The sloped Centre Street in Sai Ying Pun will transform into an outdoor cinema for one night at the Mid-Autumn Festival (19 September). While enjoying movies about the neighbourhood under the ‘full moon’, community members and the general public are invited to re-imagine the public spaces of one of the oldest districts in Hong Kong.
‘Magic Carpet: Re-envisioning Community Space in Sai Ying Pun’ is initiated by the School of Architecture and the School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). ‘Magic Carpet’ is an outreach project combining documentation of daily life, community engagement and urban design. From March to May 2013, the project team visited King’s College, a long-established secondary school in Sai Ying Pun, and conducted a series of workshops with more than 20 teenage students. The workshops informed the students of the district’s history and current development, and equipped them with skills for conducting video interviews with community members. After the workshops, the participating students interviewed people from all walks of life in Sai Ying Pun, capturing their life stories, views on the district’s development, and their ideas as to how the neighbourhood could change for the better. The students are now editing their videos to be shown at the ‘Magic Carpet’ cinema on 19 September.
The CUHK team has been studying the development of Sai Ying Pun’s community and public spaces since 2008. Located in the western part of Hong Kong Island, Sai Ying Pun has undergone drastic changes in recent years, due to urban renewal and major infrastructure projects (e.g. the MTR West Island Line to be opened next year): old tong lau buildings and traditional shophouses that once characterised the community are disappearing rapidly, while upscale, westernised bars and restaurants, high-end residences and luxury hotels start to flourish – this transformation of Sai Ying Pun epitomises urban gentrification across Hong Kong today.
Through their participation in the event, local residents and the public can enjoy the public space while rethinking its possible functions. The ‘Magic Carpet’ outdoor cinema will be held at the heart of the district right next to the Sai Ying Pun Market. This portion of Centre Street – the bustling part of the district since the 1860s – has been made inaccessible to vehicular traffic, becoming a quiet yet underused area. The steeply sloped Centre Street resembles the slanted seating arrangement of most cinemas, making the location an ideal setting for outdoor screening. Encircled by Sai Ying Pun’s unique cityscape and eclectic architectural styles, one also catches a glimpse of Victoria Harbour at the ‘Magic Carpet’ on Centre Street.
‘Magic Carpet: Re-envisioning Community Space in Sai Ying Pun’ will be an official part of the 2013 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. The project is supported by the Knowledge Transfer Fund of CUHK. The background research, ‘Measuring Community Benefit in Public Space Transformation in Older Urban Districts: A Case Study of Sai Ying Pun’, is funded by the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong.
The event also includes other activities, such as a drawing competition, for all ages to re-envision their neighbourhood’s future. Its festive atmosphere celebrates the unique character of Sai Ying Pun, cultivating a stronger sense of belonging to the old district at a time of change. Details are as follows
Magic Carpet: Re-envisioning Community Space in Sai Ying Pun
Date: 19 September 2013, Thursday
Venue: Centre Street (next to Sai Ying Pun Market, see map on page 5 for details)
Events: Screening – 18:30-22:00
Drawing booth – 16:00-22:00
*Free admission, no registration required
*In case of adverse weather, the event will be postponed to 21 September 2013, Saturday
CUHK Project Team:
Prof. Hendrik TIEBEN, Project Initiator, Associate Professor, School of Architecture
Prof. Colin FOURNIER, Project Initiator, Visiting Professor, School of Architecture; Chief Curator of the 2013 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism
Prof. Anthony FUNG, Project Initiator, Director, School of Journalism and Communication
YIP Kai-chun, Manager, School of Architecture
Students of BSSc in Urban Studies & M.Sc. in Urban Design, School of Architecture