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Space+ (Yau Tsim Mong District)

In March 2023, Very Hong Kong started the second batch of the “Space+” programme in Yau Tsim Mong District. Contrasting with the development history and socio-cultural landscape of the Yuen Long District, most public spaces in Yau Tsim Mong are characterized by long and thin streets tucked away in between high-rise buildings; pedestrian footbridges, alleys or underground tunnels. The district has always been densely populated, and the only way to incorporate green space into urban design is to make good use of the small spaces between streets. 


While public spaces in YTM are generally small, they have witnessed and have given rise to a variety of street cultures over the years, including the culture of public dining (street sweeping), busking, and "Dai Pai Dong" culture. ​Based on the district characteristics, we have recruited 17 trainees from 13 district NGOs to join the “Space+ Academy”. With reference to their daily observation of the community and personal working experience, the trainees have actualized different placemaking proposals that responded to local needs and aspirations in August’s “Space+ Festival”.

Space+ Academy

(Yau Tsim Mong District)

Mar - Aug, 2023

Space+ Salon

Aug 2023

Space+ Festival

(Yau Tsim Mong District)

Aug 2023

Space+ Academy (Yau Tsim Mong District)

This batch of Space+ Academy recruited 17 trainees whose work and interests are rooted in Yau Tsim Mong District. The trainees are all representatives of local NGOs in various service fields, such as arts and culture, community development, cultural preservation, environmental protection, elderly care, children and youth, mental rehabilitation, poverty alleviation, labour rights, public housing, and more. ​

Among the eight workshops, the first four offered trainees with a holistic overview of the theoretical framework, key values and case sharing of placemaking. Through engaging trainees in a community planning simulation game, participants quickly grasped concepts on the relationship between "space", "place" and "community", Hong Kong’s urban development, and the importance of public participation in city design. We have also invited Mr. Mohd Shahril, Manager of ThinkCity in Malaysia, to share his projects and insights in Asia’s context . 

The second phase of the Academy exchanged practical considerations and design protocols that should be taken into account during project implementation. Through brainstorming and interactive discussions, trainees collaborated to learn a wide spectrum of placemaking toolkits on SWOT analysis, Community Assets Mapping and Site Audit, etc. To encourage networking and experience sharing, we have also invited local NGO placemaking practitioners from Yan Oi Tong - Youth Space, Sheng Kung Hui Lady MacLehose Centre - Kung Yung Koon, St. James' Settlement East Community Development, and Caritas Mok Cheung Sui Kan Community Centre - Neighbourhood Kitchen to share their tips in actualizing their community programmes.

Let’s check out the trainees’ creative proposals!

Group 1:  "Take-a-rest" Racetrack

Longing to become a professional racer? The “Take-a-rest” Racetrack offers all the ingredients that kids would need to assemble their “racing car” for a weekend of being fast and furious! Join us on Sunday’s “King of the Race (Dundas Street Station)” to compete for the ultimate championship! We also call for all “parents behind the successful racer” to witness the amazing race with us. Double the happiness by visiting our "Take-a-rest" gas station to cheer for your kids, meet and greet other parents, or relax with the massage equipment on site!


#Carers #Breathing Space #Playspace

Group 2: [×,"Who wasn't`°''a MK-er once?▎__*

This initiative strives to promote intergenerational dialogues among MK-ers who share collective memories of Mongkok. As a dynamic district that is constantly evolving due to changing trends, consumption habits and redevelopment, the team engaged kai-fongs from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s to investigate the “trendy items” and “icons” of Mongkok back in their times. Their findings were displayed in the Dundas Street Sitting-Out Area to recall collective memories of the public, allowing visitors to recall the past and reimagine the future of the district. 

#MK Culture #Cross-generational Integration #Collective Memories

Group 3: The Ever Growing

“Ever growing” is many people's impression of Hong Kong. As an energetic, trendy nocturnal district that brings different communities together, Yau Tsim Mong has always been a go-to community for local youth. This placemaking initiative aspires to capitalize on the passion, talent and creativity of Hong Kong teenagers to make an impact through community arts. Are you willing to join us for an artistic venture in Dundas Street?​

#Youth Culture #Art Experience #Hope #Upcycling 

Group 4: So Crowded Lab

Mong Kok has become a synonym for crowdedness. When you go to Mong Kok with your friends to dine, walk around, watch movies, or go shopping, have you ever imagined how the residents of Mongkok live? When tourists from all over Hong Kong, and even from all over the world, name Mongkok as a must-visit attraction and the central hub for social gatherings, how may the locals and “outsiders” enjoy different lifestyles harmoniously? The So Crowded Lab will kick-start an intimate dialogue among people from all walks to unravel the known and unknown voices in Mongkok. 

#Mongkok Living Experience #Prototype #TooCrowdedtobetrue

Words from Trainees

"For once, I doubted whether the touristic Dundas Street Sitting-out Area is suitable for practicing placemaking with local kai-fongs. My experience with Space+ proved that placemaking could benefit more than the locals; it has the power to foster grounded interactions among stakeholders who have never crossed paths."

Hans Chan |Team Member of "So Crowded Lab

Space+ Salon

*Special thanks to Sideny Cai for the illustration.

Space+ Festival (Yau Tsim Mong District)

The Space+ Festival was successfully held in Yau Tsim Mong from August 18 to 27, 2023. The event has attracted over 20,000 participants from all walks to practise ways to reshape daily community spaces through placemaking. 


The 10-day Festival was a collective triumph by 17 academy trainees, 30 NGO community partners and buskers who strived their best to co-curate exciting programmes for the locals. Our heartfelt thanks must also be given to dear friends from Chinese University of Hong Kong and craftsman Master Yu’s team for their venue design support; volunteer teams formed by HKIP, HKIS and open-call individuals; and over 50 local shop owners who gratuitously offered to promote the Festival to the general public. Regardless of who we are, or which sector we are from, we believe everyone could play a role to make a difference in our community.