Rational development under uncertain de facto jurisdictional boundaries

Lawrence W.C. LAI, Mark Hansley CHUA*, Ken S.T. CHING

*Corresponding author for this work

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

5 Citations (Scopus)


This interdisciplinary study, drawing on knowledge in institutional economics, history, and cartography, uses evidence based on government files up to 1975 and disclosed since 2003, aerial photographs from 1945 to 1975, and NGO publications evidence to show that developers used metes and bounds, namely the original walls of the main fort as modified by public roads, and the surveyed alignment of a stream, to delimit their building lines under uncertain jurisdictional limits of the boundaries of the Kowloon (Walled) City in spite of certitude of the alignments of its walls. In this light, the paper discusses the proposition that to both the Chinese and colonial governments, “Kowloon City”, consistently referred to as the “Kowloon Walled City” (KWC) in post-war official Hong Kong government files and recent English language academic literature, had a great sign value in terms of Peirce's theory, as it pointed towards something more than a disused solitary fort. This value cannot be dismissed when articulating present heritage management for the KWC as a public Chinese garden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-392
Number of pages10
JournalLand Use Policy
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017


  • Heritage
  • Jurisdictional boundaries
  • Kowloon Walled City
  • Property rights
  • Sign value


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