Sustainability of local communities are often under pressure from development and societal changes. On the southeast tip of Hong Kong Island, Shek O has heritage value from its colonial history, and special local identity from its traditional role of a fishing village. The popular destination for weekend getaways has nevertheless been suffering from the aftermaths of two super typhoons in the past few years, and residents are struggling to rebuild the area from physical damage. As more and more local elders pass away, the intangible knowledge, stories and traditions are also vanishing. Meanwhile, severe transportation issues, overcrowding and environmental pollution continue to plague the area, and residents have varying views on which direction their home should develop towards.
To meet local needs while restoring the sustainability of resources at Shek O, the team is creating a virtual guided tour of attractions and cultural experiences, such as verbal histories, videos of festivities and yearly events. The wide range of intergenerational locals – from older residents to newer neighbours and expats – are brought together to recount their stories and knowledge, especially the elderly, while they could still recall their memories. Stakeholders including government officials and visitors are also engaged to co-build a sustainable and interconnected community.
The VR platform is then shared via community-based events, libraries and NGOs, transferring the intangible treasures and attracting visitors with a cultural interest to the area.
The collection of oral history of the Shek O community, especially the fading features, can be preserved and promoted to the public. This increases the public’s awareness of cultural heritage preservation. At the same time, cohesion and placemaking within Shek O would be strengthened in the process. The sustainable community may eventually set an example for other local communities that suffered from natural disasters, social unsustainability or challenges.
– Shek O residents
– New residents (locals and expatriates) moving to Shek O
– Local and non-local visitors
– District Council members
– General public
Director of the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK, Anthony’s research interests range from youth studies and pop culture to creative industries. Having published widely in international journals, he is also known for communicating through books and fashion.
Johnson is interested in place marketing, sustainable tourism development, urban tourism, accessible tourism and recreation management. His doctoral research investigates the potential of green resources for city branding in Hong Kong.
A registered social worker, Sally is interested in studying intergenerational family relations, care provision and gender issues. She took an active role in community and sustainability projects with residents of the Lei Yue Mun squatter area and the Devil’s Peak.
Sally obtained her PhD in Monash University, Australia.