Blue House Cluster

Regeneration requires a comprehensive and integrated vision aimed at lasting improvement through measures that resolve a range of problems in the urban domain.  The notion of ‘embedded memory’ is bound up with time, place and culture.  Most remaining heritage buildings in Hong Kong have been re-branded with functions that are very different from their original uses.

Successful places are those that stand the test of time, and these therefore need to evolve from stable parts of older areas and around nodes of activity which effectively anchor new growth. One example of a contested space is the Blue House situated at Stone Nullah Lane in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Blue House has received great concern by many civil groups after its development plan was announced by URA in 2006 to transform it into a tea and medical-themed tourist’s attraction.

This was responded by a strong wave of unhappiness from various civil groups. One major civil group was St. James Settlement which held lectures and exhibitions to raise awareness of the residents on rights of residence of the Blue House. The government finally decided to keep the existing residents of the Blue House; to keep the community characteristics and also to show the real living situation of the residents.

Blue House was painted blue by Land’s Department in the 1990s

Strong wave of citizen movement

In the history of heritage conservation in Hong Kong, Blue House was regarded as a victory of civil society to maintain the historic buildings and also the community connections. The values of the community need to be respected and nurtured so that everyday urban experience becomes suffused with local meaning and enjoyment. The importance of city design – how its physical spaces and architecture can bring people together to create memories, communities and positive affiliation. To quote Peter Kageyama in his book, For the Love of Cities: The love affair between people and their place, he  writes that, “The mutual love affair between people and their place is one of the most powerful influence in our lives, yet we rarely think of it in terms of a relationship,”