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Up The Walls of The World City

Looking up from the streets of Kowloon.

When I first found myself within the immensity of Hong Kong 香港 I was awestruck with the scale of the place. Hong Kong is so unimaginably vast, there seems no way to contain it. The city is perpetually building upward, expanding into the sky, since there is so little room to sprawl.

My second visit to Hong Kong—in February 2014—left me with a slightly different set of impressions. Perhaps living in unruly Taiwan 台灣 has recalibrated my expectations somewhat, but Hong Kong seems rather bland by comparison. The buildings are often functional in the extreme, without unnecessary adornment, as if there is no space for any kind of personal flourish in a society that emphasizes business to the extent that Hong Kong does.

The concrete edifice depicted in this photograph captures this functional aesthetic. There are histories here, though one will have to read between the lines and stretch the imagination to gain even a faint glimmering of what they might be.

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