Hong Kong / No Space for Gathering
Speaking in terms of public gathering space, it is very limited in Hong Kong. You may argue that there are many public parks in the urban area, but the fact is most of them are either hard to reach or filled with a lot of greenery. Take West Kowloon Cultural District as example, the park area which public can access is far away from the original city fabric. It is blocked by a high-end mega-structure (Elements) and a series of high-rise residential towers. Parks like this, developed or still developing, are all over Hong Kong. There is not many spaces can be categorized as piazza for the populace to gather. Therefore, we can easily find that most of the public gatherings were hold at Victoria Park, as it maybe the only one that can feed citizens’ need.
Due to historical reasons, Rome has a number of public piazzas connected with wide boulevards in its urban fabric. They are relatively more accessible and have promoted among the citizens a culture of public discussion and idea exchanging in that kind of open space. This merit of urban planning maybe one of many reasons that why western countries are more advanced in terms of democracy than Hong Kong or China. However, interestingly, Hong Kong in the recent years of urban planning, did not consider this kind of urban strategy (introducing more public piazzas). Instead, the Government push all the newly developed public parks away from the old street life and have them less convenient to access. That’s why for the past protest parades starting from Victoria Park, they end in nowhere. To be exact, after the protesters reach the Government buildings and hand over their appeals in Admiralty, they have to be dismissed because of no gathering space nearby.