Hidden agenda? : Cultural policy in Hong Kong's urban redevelopment

  • Tobias ZUSER

Student thesis: MPhil Thesis (Lingnan)


For many years industrial buildings in Hong Kong have formed some of the city’s most vibrant cultural clusters by providing local artists with low-cost space to pursue their creative work. However, recent efforts by the government also targeted these areas for commercial revitalization. By 2020 the industrial part of Kwun Tong, a densely populated district in Kowloon East, will not only have been transformed into the city’s second Central Business District, but also seen the majority of the current cultural workers leaving due to the rapid valorisation of land. Nevertheless, these ongoing struggles over spatial power have also opened up a new space for a critical debate on Hong Kong’s urban planning and cultural policy strategies. This research uses the non-compliant Kwun Tong livehouse Hidden Agenda as a case study to shed light on the prospects for Hong Kong’s cultural diversity in its material, social and symbolic form of cultural clusters. By critically investigating research across different disciplines, I argue that—although the mere exposure of the contradictions between cultural planning and urban creativity discourses is significant—the governmental conditions that have been enabling the emergence of such spaces in the first place are often neglected by scholars and planners alike. Therefore, in order to understand both the destructive and productive impact of spatial power on Hong Kong’s cultural production, this thesis aims to examine the room for maneuvers within planning and policy discourses by expanding the Foucauldian approach of cultural policy studies to the domain of space.
Date of Award2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Cultural Studies
SupervisorChing Kiu Stephen CHAN (Supervisor)

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