Levitated Community investigates the evolving qualities of urbanity in today’s society where land has been so scarce along with the politicization of it to curb the freedom of speech of the people. Our proposal seeks to negotiate the complex geopolitical relationship between autonomous Hong Kong and China, while predicting a future for Hong Kong’s state of being after guaranteed autonomous rule ends starting from the year 2047.
It is an architectural statement and perpetuation of a condition of cultural practice rather than codification China’s ascendancy and Hong Kong’s anxieties – a perverted sense of history repeating itself, a situation that demands to be assuaged for stability.
Due to that, this thesis intends to explore the relationship between democracy and urban design.
Concluding Democracy in Urban Design
The decision to combine democracy and alternate land use elements is heavily inspired by the article, Walking on Streets-in-the-Sky: Structures for Democratic Cities by Joao Cunha Borges. Having already a preliminary proposal to build up on the skies as an alternative spatial use, the need to incorporate democratic aspect into the proposal had become more apparent. On the basis of that, a series of prominent architect’s visions have provoked us to consider the significant connection between urban design and democracy, prompting us to combine our concepts and question how can democracy be applied in urban scale in terms of architecture.
Levitated Community incepts a public or semi-public set of places in which housing and other activities are present, but the most outstanding effect is to give freedom to the people in building and designing their own city as levitated Community envisioned a world of equal opportunity where presence is more important than ownership, where streets extend to the sky to allow the city to be walked and perceived from many points of view, multiplying the layers of passage and permanence, creating a culture of public commons.
Being one of the densest cities in the world, Hong Kong has been chosen as a prototype due to its special historical background and highly relevant political status.
Hong Kong has always been a city of civil unruliness, from opportunistic and subversive appropriations to occasional public disruptions within its urban canyons. This is also due to a history of distrust in the government that has ingrained in the minds of people — from the anxieties of the handover, SARS, the handling of the umbrella movement, up to COVID-19. This is a cultural practice that resembles an identity setting apart themselves from the rest of China.
China has guaranteed Hong Kong the authority to self-govern in terms of economic and political systems for 50 years after the transfer from the British, which means in 2047, Hong Kong will lose its autonomous power and governed entirely under the Chinese Communist Party. In 2019, the extradition bill completely triggered the anger among the opposing parties who want to fight for their democratic identity and ignited a large amount of demonstrations.
Hong Kong has always been pivotal in building the economy of China due to it being an international financial hub, commercial hub and having a world class port, hence serving as the only gateway for China to the international market. The turmoil has severely affected the economy and peacefulness of Hong Kong as it sent Hong Kong’s economy into a recession for the first time in a decade.
Due to its economic contribution to China, Beijing had to compromise by coming out with an agreement or solution that would satisfy both parties
The City Above
Hongkong used to be considered as a different entity from China. However, the Chinese government doesn’t want to put the opposing parties in exile and to create a smaller Hong Kong. Therefore, to fulfill the demands of the protestors and resolves the ongoing chaos in the city, the Chinese government has proposed a levitated community concept that allows them to live in harmony as an entirety by allowing them to utilize the space in the sky and to retain their ideology and lifestyle.
Power to the People
In order to provide freedom and democracy for dwellers to design and build their own space, 3d printing technology has been applied in the community as a main method. The 3d printing facilities are placed above roofs of existing buildings, serving also as an intersecting point for bridges converging from different directions and different levels. Elevated public realms form an integrated network to facilitate the manufacturing and consuming of urban activities facilitated by emerging 3D printing technologies.
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