Everyday practice in the high density, volumetric Hong Kong: Ambiguity, intensity and life between interfaces

Weijia WANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing numbers of cities in densely populated urban areas are being transformed from vertical to volumetric. Elements such as skyscrapers, residential towers, elevated pedestrian bridges, and subways transform people’s vertical living into volumetric urban living. Drawing on calls for more research on everyday practice in the three-dimensional city, this study focuses on Mong Kok district in Hong Kong to examine everyday, volumetric urbanism in the densely populated urban context. The key focus is on the dynamic relationship between micro-scale spatial characteristics and people’s everyday actions. Using physical survey, observation, narrative city walks, test walks and questionnaire, this research investigates volumetric spatial formation and daily practices. The paper concludes that volumetric urban space is produced as interlaced stacks of interfaces, which are integrated within the three-dimensional urban fabric. There is ambiguity between space for circulation and for staying. Volumetric urban life is inherently associated with intensity of people’s varied everyday practices rather than verticality, which points to the “life between interfaces” as a critical dimension of volumetric urban living. The volumetric-ness accommodates and sustains vibrant high-density cities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102462
Early online date6 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

The author would like to acknowledge the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Postgraduate Research Fund and the Lingnan University Faculty Research Grant(Project Title "Scoping Study on High Rise Communities and Vertical Urbanism") for the support of the study and the preparation of this article.


  • Ambiguity
  • Densely populated urban areas
  • Everyday life between interfaces
  • Intensity
  • Volumetric city


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