Ken Wong Intro2 01
Entry into 'Funky-Town'

Hong Kong is a dense urban city that is growing old at a hastening pace. With a population of over seven million and a steadily rising number of elderly people, the ‘Fragrant Harbour’ faces its greatest challenge in accommodating future needs.

As a response, the Hong Kong social welfare department is promoting ‘Ageing in Place’ and ‘Active Ageing’ on a broader scale. However, ‘Age-Friendly City’ assessment reports for the Wan Chai district's current elderly care system show a failure to adequately provide for emotional needs and community participation.[1] 

What is more alarming is that Hong Kong is subject to a housing crisis and land shortage which, together, inherently force changes to the urban environment. Districts are being gentrified, disrupting local communities and displacing socially connected residents. These issues inhibit liveability for the elderly population. 

This research explores a new elderly care system designed alongside the existing urban fabric, facilitating vacant spaces in light of change.

The elderly population is conflicted by several issues that are bound by cultural and political control

The change in the inter-generational structure of living means the elderly are still involved in work and career while living independently. On the other hand, some are socially isolated from the contemporary world.

Elderlies in Hong Kong have a grounded connection with the built environment they have grown accustomed to, raising the need to preserve aspects of familiarity to retain community well-being.

The provision of elderly care in Hong Kong is a waitlisted service with an estimated wait time of six years. Those for whom the need is urgent, that wait time is too long.

To progressively change the built environment to suit the changing demands of the ageing population, modularised public spaces and interventions are adopted in the design process. Determining specific interventions required studying profiles of the average elderly (aged 60+) in Hong Kong; their daily routines, and the disappearing cultural practices that the ageing have grown accustomed to.

The proposal is constructed as a two-part scenario, which targets a different sub-group of the ageing population. The first exploration, 'The Fragrant Strip', aims to re-implement and preserve lost amenities into the urban fabric of Tai Hang, a desolated, gentrifying sub-community. The modularisation of its roads allows the residents to engage in co-creating their spaces' future. 

General Modules
De-modularised fragments of Hong Kong's street character
General Scope 01
A comical poster presenting the social disconnect of the ageing population in Hong Kong
Fragrant Strip Axonometric 01
Axonometric View of Wun Sha Street
Full Width_1
Plan of The Fragrant Strip
Funky Town Title 01
Funky Town 2
Modularised Interventions re-invigorating cultural heritage and promoting inter-generational activities

The second exploration, 'Funky-Town', explores the idea of a modular city in the vertical plane. Following the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, offices of Wan Chai have seen an increase in vacancy. Thus, the project itself is a re-appropriation of the Great Eagle Centre, an office tower in Wan Chai which provides a co-temporal home for the ageing residents who are currently on the waitlist of Elderly Care Provision, as well as public housing. 

The convergence of different sub-groups accommodating the spaces provides greater opportunities to enhance inter-generational activities and reduce social pressure and anxiety of the ageing.

The spaces being embedded into the existing structure are formulated by activities of inter-generational structure. Spaces such as parks, communal halls, bars and sports centres are examples of where social engagement between different age-groups are amplified. 

[1] Sau Po Centre on Ageing, The University of Hong Kong. Baseline Assessment Report on Wan Chai, 2016.
Funky Town 4
Perspective View of Funky-Town, a gerontologic colony of a 'silver-lining' Hong Kong