Hong Kong’s oldest open air market in Graham Street and nearby lanes in Central is set to be demolished, to pave way for the redevelopment of the area. A so called “old street” will be created, in an attempt to represent the old days of the neighborhood. But don’t be fooled. The shops and buildings in the “old street” are mere replicas.
The Hong Kong government, as always, has a logic of its own: the replicas can replace the original, especially the old, which are run down and obsolete. So why not just tear down the old rather than preserve them? Conservation is time and money consuming, anyway.
And do not forget that tearing down the old is a very profitable business for the territory’s powerful quarters- the property developers. With redevelopment of the Graham Street area, a 96,000 sq ft hotel, a 400,000 sq ft commercial building, and two residential buildings accommodating 290 units will be put up here. There is no need to say who benefit most from the redevelopment. Btw, who can afford to live in these two luxury residential buildings in this very prime area of Hong Kong? The wealthy, of course.
That is how Hong Kong’s general public is being rid of their public space and heritage in a city whose government knows only redevelopment but not conservation.
Besides Graham Street, there is Wedding Card Street in Wan Chai being torn down and re-developed. Before, not long ago, we witnessed the sad fate of Star Ferry pier in Central.