Memory and modernity : the symbolic cityscape of Hong Kong
This thesis proposes five conceptual headings through which to perceive the city. They are: City as History, Spectacle, A Work of Art, Corporate Image, and Home. Each heading is a complete concept on one level and the part of a greater concept on another. A number of celebrity cities (e.g. London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, etc.) are considered at each of the headings in turn. A city is the spatial embodiment of memory and modernity. Memory and modernity are multi-facaded within a totality. Each of the five conceptions reflects one facade and their juxtaposition provides meanings to each other. A good city can embrace parts of the five conceptions; whereas an ideal city must achieve an equilibrium of them all. The second part of the thesis, The Phenomenology of A City, examines the urban experience and consciousness of citizens, through the gaze of four representational figures of the modern city (the shopper, flaneur, stranger, and transgressor). Finally, the theories were applied to an exceptional modern city, Hong Kong, in which the identity and image of the city is evaluated and explored. It is worth noting that this thesis, if not the first, will be one of the few to analyse the city of Hong Kong from an aesthetic and historical dimension. The modern city is too gigantic and erratic to grasp completely. This thesis, however, approaches it from these several historical and aesthetic viewpoints. It seeks to capture the urban experience of ordinary people with a poetic lens, and through which one glimpses what is it to experience (a very problematic word in this thesis) the modern city.