Lamma Island ランマ島、香港

We are now in Hong Kong. We were here 10 years ago too. It has changed so much, Kowloon castle is gone, HSBC bank designed by Sir Norman Foster was the rare tall building and looked like it was predicting the future and soon Bank of China by IM Pei joined it, but now they are settled among the 100 tall anonymous buildings. Their facades still have a unique significance but did they demonstrate a model for the next generation?  We are not sure. Last time we were here we saw, I think, more people walking on the streets but today hardly to see people on the streets, possibly it is too hot and today is weekend. One difference is many shops and restaurants moved into high rises so that you can not see them from streets. You will find them through internet but not hanging around the city. This is the same phenomena we saw in Tokyo on the way here. Shops and restaurants are so sophisticated but the city sadly lost the face of activity. Remember how cities use to be… shops and restaurants were exposed on streets and joy of hanging around the city. I guess people prefer air conditioned space to explore the city.

今香港に来ている。10以上年前にも来たけれど大きく変わっている。九龍城はなくなり、ノーマンフォスター卿のデザインしたHSBC銀行は今はさらに高い沢山のビルの中に紛れてしまった。かつては周りの高層ビルのなかでひときわ目立つ、香港の未来を先取すると思われた建物で、そのあとIMペイのデザインした中国銀行のビルがそれに加わった。これらの建物のユニークで魅力的なファサードは、次世代のモデルになるだろうか?かなり疑わしい。さて、前回ここに来た時、もっと通りに人が歩いていたと思うけれど、今日はあまり人を見ない。週末だからだろうか? そのわけはレストランや商店が高層ビルの中に入っていったからではないだろうか?インターネットで調べてくるので、もうぶらぶら歩きをしなくなったのではないか?これと同じ傾向を東京でも見た。店やレストランは上品になって、大きなビルの中に他の店や事務所と一緒に納まり、表からは隠れてしまって、町は賑わいを失いつつあるのあるではないか?たぶん人々は町を散策するよりは冷房の効いたモールを好むようになったのかもしれない。

Today we came to an island called Lamma which is a 40 minute boat ride from the center of Hong Kong, one of many islands in that make up Hong Kong. Despite its image Hong Kong has hundreds of  islands and they are attracting more tourists.


After landing on the narrow walkway of the pier we walked up the main street that goes deep into the island through restaurants, shops, cafes and beaches and lovely clean public changing rooms. It is so nice and relaxing. Why is that…? It took a while to figure it out.


Yes, no cars!! Absolutely no cars on this island. Isn’t it a privilege not to have any cars and still be part of a city? In other words, does every community have to allow cars into every street and  be continuous to every other part of the city, giving up a sense of community? Why can’t individual parts of the city be like an island? Is it really so inconvenient? …


New York is considered the most functionally designed and most exciting city (a  simple straight grid and wide streets) in the world. In a grid system, every corner is equivalent (and almost the same) and exposed to heavy car traffic. For some people exhausting means exciting….  But is it really so ?


All of the photos above were taken along the small but main street. You can click all images to enlarge… for a more spatial experience. ここに載せた写真はすべてこの島のメインストリートたる細い道から取ったもの。クリックすれば臨場感のある大写しに…。


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