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Title: Model and the lived, beyond the 60m2 mean : an investigation into Hong Kong’s domestic models and its square foot societies
Authors: Bruyns, G 
Lo, C 
Keywords: 60m2
Hong Kong
Issue Date: 2016
Source: CONTESTED_CITIES Working Paper Series, 2016, no. IV-2A, 2-012, p. 1-11 How to cite?
Abstract: What insights can a spatial interrogation of Hong Kong’s domestic models and its transformative variants deliver in terms of a territory’s processes of compressed domesticity? Furthermore, how would the understanding of these models not only question, but, concomitantly reflect the ideologies of a ‘square foot society’?
According to the Hong Kong SAR Government, 60m2 is seen as the official and standard domestic module. As territorial construct Hong Kong’s geopolitical complexity and it’s ‘Special Administrative Region’ status has, since 1997, gradually realigned a number of speculative, housing and political ideologies to establish a unique ‘east-meets- west’ social-spatial context. The interlacing of rich-versus-poor, limited availability of exploitable property, and the recent emergence of socially driven resistance movements have ruptured conventional spatial tangents, forcing the emergence of tactical strategies as generators for domestic structures far below to the 60m2 mean.
In this framework housing and its domestic valance has become questionable in its deployment and mechanization as urbanization instrument, that is to say, the ‘model versus the lived’. Drawing from the theoretical concepts of Urbanism (Wirth, 1938), territoriality (Elden, 2013) and ‘commoning’ (Bruyns, et al., 2015) the proposed analysis is meant to show a number of consequences in terms of radicalized dwelling and spatial compression. The comparison of Hong Kong’s ‘Tong-lau’ housing model, as the archetypical historical shop-house standard, and its contrast to contemporary dwellings highlights the social realities operative in high-density urban dwellings of the 21st Century.
Expression of the mutative orders, between the ‘model and the lived’ concludes on the questionable forms of occupancy and tenancy within hyper-capitalism, the establishment of a ‘square-foot-society’ and it sharing of resources that ultimately shifts the focus to continued challenge of the ‘model’ through human necessities of the ‘lived’.
Description: International Conference, From CONTESTED_CITIES to global urban justice - critical dialogues, Madrid, 4-7 July 2016
Working paper series IV-2A. International Conference CONTESTED_CITIES, Stream 2: Housing
ISSN: 2341-2755
Rights: Working Paper Series CONTESTED_CITIES is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (
The following publication Bruyns, G., & Lo, C. (2016). Model and the lived, beyond the 60m2 mean: an investigation into Hong Kong’s domestic models and its square foot societies. CONTESTED_CITIES Working Paper Series, IV-2A, 2-012, 1-11 is available at
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