Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 114

Title

Author(s)

Understanding the place: an assessment framework of


social significance with Graham Street Market as the
casestudy
Tse, Yuk-bing, Gladys.;

Citation

Issue Date

URL

Rights

2007

http://hdl.handle.net/10722/56073

The author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent


rights) and the right to use in future works.

Understanding The Place:


An Assessment Framework of Social Significance
with Graham Street Market as the Case Study

by

TSE Yuk Bing Gladys


MSc HKPolyU, MEdAdmin New England

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of
Science in Conservation at the University of Hong Kong

October 2007

Understanding The Place:


An Assessment Framework of Social Significance
with Graham Street Market as the Case Study
submitted by
TSE Yuk Bing Gladys
for the Degree of Master of Science in Conservation at the University of Hong Kong
October 2007

Abstract

In 1999, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR Government has made an
announcement in the Policy Address that in addition to improving the living environment,
the new approach to urban renewal should also aim at the protection of the heritage.
However, not much was done by the Government in heritage conservation in the
following years. Meanwhile, on the community level, awareness and participation in
heritage conservation then was still low. Furthermore, as in many other parts of the world,
the statutory emphasis in Hong Kong on heritage conservation is on the importance of the
built environment, not the intangibles.

A turning point to this situation can be seen

recently when cultural heritage conservation becomes one of the hot topics in town.
There is a new movement of the community support and the more rigorous and active
approach made by the Government on heritage conservation not only on the tangibles but
the intangibles as well. This drastic change in attitude of both the community and the
Government was in fact instigated by the controversies of the demolition of Lee Tung
Street (Wedding Street), Clock Tower of Star Ferry and Queens Pier. People become to

realize that the understanding of a place of heritage value should not be confined to the
built environment but historical significance, community life, distinctive lifestyle and
cultural traits, in other words, social value, should also be included. But social value is
abstract and difficult to define. Is there a systematic approach to assess the significance
of social value? The objective of this study is to make an exploration on this issue using
Graham Street Market as the case study and conservationist Ms Chris Johnstons concept
on social value as the theoretical framework.

The Graham Street Market falls into the Redevelopment Project of Graham Street/Peel
Street proposed by the Urban Renewal Authority. The Project will soon be commenced
but has any systematic social significance assessment on the site been carried out before
the commencement of the redevelopment design? Has sufficient understanding of the
place been made? The study has found answer to this question before an assessment
framework on social significance is suggested.

In the concluding chapter of this study, issues on the necessity of having a mechanism of
social value assessment, arguments between the terms social value and collective
memory and the inevitability of Heritage Conservation becoming involved in local
politics are brought out for readers further thinking.

ii

Dedication

This dissertation is dedicated to all those who genuinely want to know more about social
value assessment in heritage conservation.

iii

Declaration

I declare that this thesis represents my own work, except where due acknowledgement is
made, and that it has not been previously included in a thesis, dissertation or report
submitted to this University or to any other institution for a degree, diploma or other
qualifications. All illustrations (maps, drawings and photographs) reproduced in this
dissertation, except where due acknowledgement is made, are the original work of the
author.

Signed _______________________________________

iv

Acknowledgements

I am deeply indebted to innumberable people for their assistance and guidance, amongst
which, my thesis supervisor, Dr Lynne DiStefano and the Programme Director, Dr Lee
Ho-yin. Both of them are much devoted in cultural heritage management and have
unlimited strength in giving advice and assistance to all students of the Master of Science
in Conservation.

I am grateful to the many individuals who have contributed to the intellectual


fermentation which led to the completion of this dissertation. I would like to thank my
dear old friends, Ms Mary Chu who has helped me to approach the hawkers in Graham
Street for interviews, and Mrs Linda Yee who agreed to be my interviewee even though
she has emigrated for many years and is now in the States. I benefited from the many
discussions, both formal and informal, with my fellows classmates, and particularly Mr
Joe Chan, Ms May Ho, Mr Dennis Lu, Ms Janet Ng and Ms Daicie Tong, who are most
eager to share their knowledge, experience and insights.

Last but not least, I would also like to thank my family my parents who have never
questioned me for being always away from home to pursue studies after work, and my
elder sisters who have helped in identifying some of the old pictures of Graham Street
and in editing this dissertation.

Table of Contents
Page
Abstract

Dedication

iii

Declaration

iv

Acknowledgement

Introduction

1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5
1.6

Background and Issue


Objectives and Scope
Definition of Terms
Theoretical Framework
Hypothesis
Methodology and Structure of the Study
Bibliography and Reference

Street Trading and Evolution of Market Activities in Hong Kong

2.1
2.2
2.2.1
2.2.2
2.2.3
2.2.4
2.3

Background
Street Market an Economic and Social Institution
Relationship among Hawkers
Relationship between Hawkers and Shoppers
Relationship between Hawkers and Enforcement Agent
Relationship between Hawkers and the Others
Transformation of Street Market Trading and the Evolution from Street
Market to the Development of Supermarket

2.3.1
2.3.2
2.3.3
2.3.4
2.4

Government Policies towards Street Trading and Hawking Activities


Hawker Permitted Place
Public Markets
Development of Supermarkets
Conclusion
Bibliography and Reference

13

vi

Case Study Graham Street Market

3.1
3.1.1

Contextual Location of Street Markets in Central District


The History Related to the Site Context Dating back from 1840s to
Mid 1900s

3.1.2
3.2
3.3
3.4

Contemporary Site Context


The Study Area Graham Street Market
Urban Redevelopment Project
Conclusion
Bibliography and Reference

Methods, Processes and Findings

4.1
4.2
4.3
4.3.1
4.3.2
4.3.3
4.3.4
4.3.5

Introduction
Methods
Findings
Observations
Interviews with a Pitch Stall Owner and an Ex-resident
Interview with URA
Interview with a Social Welfare Concern Organization
Meeting with the Central and Western District councilor, Mr Chan Kit
Kwai

4.3.6

Focus Group Meeting


Bibliography and Reference

Analysis of Findings and Proposal of a Social Significance


Assessment Framework

5.1
5.1.1
5.1.2

Analysis of Findings
Low Awareness of Heritage Values
Limited Understanding of Social Values and Social Significance
Assessment

5.2
5.2.1

Social Significance Assessment Framework


Background of the Proposed Social Significant Assessment
Framework

5.2.2
5.2.3
5.2.4

Sequence of Social Significance Assessment


Planning and Implementation of Social Significance Assessment
Application of the Social Significance Assessment Framework to the
Graham Street Case Study

5.3

Conclusion
Bibliography and Reference

30

49

68

vii

Conclusions and Limitations

6.1
6.1.1
6.1.2
6.1.3

Inspirations and Enlightenments


The Necessity of a Social Significance Assessment Framework
Argument between Social Value and Collective Memory
The Inevitability of Heritage Conservation Issue Becoming Involved in
Local Politics

6.2
6.2.1
6.2.2
6.2.3

Limitations
Insufficient Visits and Time Spent in Observations
Insufficient Representation of the Study
Social Value is not a Stand Alone Value
Bibliography and Reference

87

List of Illustrations: Figures, Diagrams, Tables and Plates


Figures
1.1
1.2
5.1

Basic Elements and Sequence of a Conservation Plan


Methodology and Structure of the Study
Social Significance Assessment Framework

3
11
75

1.1
3.1

Location of Graham Street and the Land Use of the Vicinity


Site Map Indicating the Street Trading and Market Activities of the Old
Central and SoHo Areas

5
35

3.2

The Distribution of Hawker Stalls on the Studied Section of Graham


Street

41

3.3

Site Plan of Peel Street/Graham Street (H18 of URAs Redevelopment


Project)

43

3.4

Conceptual Redevelopment Layout Plan of URAs Peel Street/Graham


Street

44

3.5

An Envisaged Scene of Graham Street after Redevelopment

44

Details of Interviewees, Objectives and Time


Chronology of the Public Consultation Exercise Made by URA on
Redevelopment Project of Graham Street/Peel Street

50
60

Diagrams

Tables
4.1
4.2

viii

Plates
2.1
2.2
2.3

Itinerant Hawkers of a Street Market in Hong Kong c1900


Itinerant and Fixed Pitch Hawkers on Hong Kong Island, 1970s
Fixed Pitch Stall Hawkers Selling Vegetables and Fruits in Jardines
Crescent in 1970s

17
17
18

2.4
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
3.5
3.6
3.7
3.8
3.9
3.10
3.11
3.12
3.13

Fixed Pitch Stalls Lining along Graham Street


A View of Wellington Street in 1890s
A View of Jubilee Street c1925
A View of Cochrane Street c1941
A View of Peel Street c1959
A View of Graham Street c1958
A View of Gage Street c1959
Queens Road Central and The Centre
Central/Mid Levels Escalators, Cochrane Street Section
A View of Graham Street in 1950s
A View of Graham Street in 1970s
A View of Graham Street, looking from Queens Road Central
A View of Graham Street, looking from Wellington Street
A View of Graham Street , on the Section between Wellington Street
and Gage Street

18
31
31
32
32
33
33
34
34
37
37
38
38
39

3.14
a&b

Accompanied by Governor Sir Murray MacLehose, Queen Elizabeth


II Visited the Graham Street Market on 5 May 1975

39

4.1
4.2

Hawker Pitch Stall Chiu Kee with a Storehouse at the Back


Variety of Vegetables Displayed at Chiu Kee

55
55

ix

Chapter 1
Introduction

1.1

Background and Issue

As in many other parts of the world, the statutory emphasis in Hong Kong is on the
importance of the built and physical environment in relation to cultural heritage. This
emphasis is obviously indicated in the listing of the declared monuments under the
Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance of Hong Kong.1 From this list of 81 declared
monuments (as at 12 January 2007), 63 were buildings and 18 were rock carvings,
forts and archaeological sites.

As such, there is an implicit assumption that

significance is inherent in the tangibles and particularly fabric and materials of the
place. However, as the Burra Charter has stated, cultural significance embodied in a
place is of its fabric, setting, use, associations, meanings, records, related places and
related objects. 2 Cultural significance is not only inherent in the tangibles but the
intangibles as well. It should not be confined to the built environment but historical
significance, community life, distinctive lifestyle and cultural traits should also be
included. A place can only truly be considered heritage if the community has an
emotional attachment to it. It is of this thought and that as the concept of social
envelops the concepts of aesthetic, historical and scientific, as they cannot be thought
outside of social, that some has given social value priority over the other values in
the assessment of cultural significance.3 It is also owing to the increasing awareness
of the importance of conservation of intangible cultural heritage that the Convention
for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted by UNESCO4 in
2003.
1

Please refer to the webpage of the Antiquities and Monuments Office, Leisure and Cultural Services
Department of the Hong Kong SAR Government for the listing of the 81 declared monuments.
(http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/Monument/en/monuments_list.php)
Article 1.2, The Burra Charter, The Australia ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of
Cultural Significance.
Available at: http://www.icomos.org/australia/burra.html
Please see Byrne, Denis, Helen Brayshaw and Tracy Ireland. Social Significance: A Discussion
Paper, Hurstville: Research Unit, Heritage Division, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2nd
ed, June 2003:7, 20 and 77.
UNESCO. Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Available at : http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ev.php
URL_ID=2225&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.htm

In Hong Kong, from time to time heritage conservation appears as an agenda item of
the Government.

For instance, the 1999 Policy Address has announced that in

addition to improving the living environment, the new approach to urban renewal
should also aim at the protection of the heritage.5 At the community level, support for
heritage conservation has also increased, not only for built environment but also for
community life or places of unique character. It is due to this public concern that
even though the main focus of the Consultation Document on the Review of Built
Heritage Conservation Policy 2004 was on built heritage, it has to address the issue of
community life and ask the question whether neighborhoods providing memories of
daily life that communities wish to retain6 should be included in the scope of heritage
conservation.

Indeed the scale of protests on the demolition of Lee Tung Street

(Wedding Street), the Clock Tower of old Star Ferry Pier and the Queens Pier has
spoken loudly of what the local community values.

Heritage values are abstract. They have to be substantiated so that a soundly based
conservation policy can be implemented. To achieve this, Kerr has pointed out
clearly that the examination of all the relevant data for the understanding of the
significance of the place is fundamental.7 Figure 1.1 below has summarized his basic
concept of the Conservation Plan.

6
7

HKSAR Government. 1999 Policy Address, Policy Objectives, Hong Kong: HKSAR Government
Printer, 1999:.44.
Home Affairs Bureau, Review of Built Heritage Conservation Policy Consultation Document, Hong
Kong: HKSAR Government Printer, February 2004:25.
Kerr, James Semple. Conservation Plan: A Guide to the Preparation of Conservation Plans for
Places of European Cultural Significance. 5th ed, National Trust of New South Wales Australia,
2000.

Figure 1.1 : Basic Elements and Sequence of a Conservation Plan


(Adopted from Kerr James Semple, Conservation Plan: A Guide to the Preparation of
Conservation Plans for Places of European Cultural Significance, 5th ed, National Trust
of New South Wales Australia, 2000.)

STAGE 1
Understanding the place
Gathering evidence (documentary and physical)
Co-ordinating and analyzing evidence
Assessing and stating significance

STAGE II
Conservation policy and its implementation
Gathering information for the development of conservation policy
Requirements for
Clients
External
retention of
requirements or
Physical condition
requirements
significance
feasible uses

Developing a conservation policy


Starting conservation policy and evolving
strategies and options for its implementation

However, a heritage place associated with intangible ordinary daily life that is valued
by the local community may not have as many written records available as a tangible
significant monument which may either be associated with architectural merit, or
traceable commemorated specific historic personalities or events. Thus, the queries
which the author would like to find answers to in this study will be 1) what the
relevant data of a heritage place of intangible ordinary street trading activities is; and
2) how this data can be obtained so that the very first step of understanding the place
for the implementation of conservation policy can be made.

1.2

Objectives and Scope

Market and street trading are common phenomena in Asia. Even in the metropolitan
and financial centre of the Central District of Hong Kong, which always conjures up
vivid images of business men, gleaming skyscrapers and smart and sophisticated
upmarket shops, traditional market and street trading are still sustained. They are
mostly market stalls selling assorted foods and daily necessities agglomerated in the
old area of Central that comprises a crisscross of narrow roads and low-rise residential
buildings roughly bordered by Queens Road Central to the north, Hollywood Road to
the south, Aberdeen Street to the west and Cochrane Street to the east. Embedded in
these market and street trading activities are the rich but latent and intangible social,
cultural and community elements. They form part of the collective memory of many
Hong Kong people as well as the author as she has been living in this old area for
more than 16 years during the 1960s and 70s.

The purpose of this study is to explore and to develop a framework for defining what
is relevant data and how to obtain the relevant data of a heritage place of ordinary
street trading activities. In other words, how to assess the abstract social value
treasured by the local community. One particular street market, the fixed pitched
stalls along Graham Street (the section bounded by Hollywood Road in the south and
Queens Road Central in the north) of the old area of Central District has been
adopted as the case study.

Diagram 1.1 depicted the section of Graham Street under this study and the land use
of the vicinity.

Diagram 1.1: Location of Graham Street and the Land Use of the Vicinity
(Source : http://www.ozp.tpb.gov.hk/mv_default.aspx)

Keys:
Study section of Graham Street

Commercial

Commercial/Residential

Government/Institution/Community

Open Space

Other Specified Uses

Residential (Group A)

Urban Renewal Authority Development Scheme Plan Area

1.3

Definition of Terms

In this paper, a number of terminologies will be used repeatedly. These terms as


defined in related conservation charters or from previous researchers are listed below
in alphabetical order for reference:

Conservation generally means all processes of looking after a place so as to retain its
cultural significance 8 but, in particular, it also means taking measures to preserve
social practices and representations from neglect, destruction or exploitation.9

Cultural Significance means aesthetic, historic, scientific, social or spiritual value for
past, present or future generations. Cultural significance is embodied in the place
itself, its fabric, setting, use, associations, meanings, records, related places and
related objects.10

Hawker or Shiu Fann () in Cantonese is a collective term for all kinds of trading
activities which are conducted in any public place, in permanent or fixed sites, or as
itinerant peddlers.11

10

11

Article 1.4, The Burra Charter, The Australia ICOMOS Charter for
Cultural Significance.
Van Zanlean, Win (ed). Glossary Intangible Cultural Heritage.
meeting of experts at UNESCO, 10 12 June 2002
Article 1.2, The Burra Charter, The Australia ICOMOS Charter for
Cultural Significance.
Tse, F Y. Market and Street Trading: A Conceptual Framework.
Centre, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, March 1974.

the Conservation of Places of


Prepared by an international
the Conservation of Places of
Hong Kong: Social Research

Heritage is the combined creations and products of nature and of man, in their
entirely, that make up the environment in which we live in time and space. Heritage
is a reality, a possession of the community, and a rich inheritance that may be passed
on, which invites our recognition and our participation.12

Market and Street Trading widely include the highly mobile and small scale retail
units such as itinerant traders, hawkers and peddlers on one end and the large storelike retail stalls in fixed localities, whether public market halls, street markets, or
bazaars on the other end.13

Street Market is an agglomeration of street traders (stalls and pitches) along certain
streets. They are the main sources of foodstuffs, in particular, vegetables and fruits.14

Public Market is government-built retail market hall mainly for fresh provisions. In
Hong Kong, people simply call them Market.15

12

13

14
15

Canada ICOMOS, Charter for the Preservation of Quebecs Heritage (Deschambault


Declaration),1982. Canada ICOMOS, Charter for the Preservation of Quebecs Heritage
(Deschambault Declaration 1982.). Available at : http://www.icomos.org/docs/desch_anglais.html
Tse, F Y. Market and Street Trading: A Conceptual Framework. Hong Kong: Social Research
Centre, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, March 1974.
Ibid.
Ibid.

1.4

Theoretical Framework

Cultural heritage practice in the past has stressed the physical or material side of
heritage places at the expense of their social meaning. The principles of the Burra
Charter have received very wide acknowledgement and the established four-part
significance classification (aesthetic, historical, scientific, social) has been useful in
distinguishing areas of professional practice in cultural heritage. However, for places
where significance is not primarily aesthetic, scientific or even historical, but social,
like the Graham Street Market case, the guidelines of Burra Charter may not be a
good fit.

The theoretical framework of this study is mainly based on heritage conservation


consultant, Ms Chris Johnstons concept of social value.16 Johnston indicates that
places of social value are expected to be places that:
z

provide a spiritual connection or traditional connectional between past


and present;

tie the past and the present;

help to give a disempowered group back its history;

provide an essential reference point in a communitys identity or sense of


itself or historical grounding;

loom large in the daily comings and goings of life;

provide an essential community function that over time develops into an


attachment that is more than utility value;

16

shape some aspect of community behavour or attitudes

Johnston, Chris. What Is Social Value? Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1994.

are distinctive features that lift a place above the crowd, making it
likely that special meanings have been attached to that places;

are accessible to the public and offer the possibility of repeated use to
build up associations and value to the community of users; and

places where people gather and act as a community .17

In essence, social value is about collective attachment to places that embody


meanings to a community. These places are usually community owned or publicly
accessible or in some ways appropriated into peoples daily lives. Such meanings
are in addition to other values, such as the evidence of valued aspects of history or
beauty, and these meanings may not be obvious in the fabric of the place, and may not
be apparent to the disinterested observer.18

Johnston has also pointed out that heritage assessment process normally lack
community involvement and places that communities value and find attachment may
be disregarded as insignificant by heritage professionals. The attachment of a place
valued by communities may not be detected in the daily lives until the place is
threatened. Heritage professionals will then be easily caught off guard by a sudden
and unexpected community uprising in defence of the place.19

17

Ibid, p7.
Ibid, p10.
19
Ibid.
18

1.5

Hypothesis

A real understanding of a heritage place is essential for the planning and


implementation of conservation policy. However, in Hong Kong the definition of
cultural heritage is mainly focused on physical fabrics of sites and built structures and
the authority uses a top down approach with little consideration of the social
attachment of community to places valued by them. Therefore, if an appropriate
framework for social assessment to understand the ordinary street activities like those
of the Graham Street Market can be developed, then this framework could become a
model for the better understanding of a heritage place of similar nature and
characteristics.

1.6

Methodology and Structure of the Study

The methodology and the structure of this study are indicated in Figure 1.2.

10

Figure 1.2: Methodology and Structure of the Study


Identification of Issue (Chapter 1)
what is the relevant data of a heritage place of intangible ordinary street trading activities?
how can this relevant data be obtained for the understanding of the heritage place?
(i.e. what and how to assess social values)

Objectives and Study Scope (Chapter 1)


to explore and to develop a framework for social value assessment
to contain the scope of study to Graham Street Market (case study)

Theoretical Framework (Chapter 1)


developed by basing on Chris Johnstons concept on social values

Literature Review on Street Trading & Evolution of Market Activities in Hong Kong (Chapter 2)
to understand how a street market is an economic and social institution
to review Government policies towards street trading and hawking activities
to review the evolution of the marketplace from street trading to the development of supermarket

Case Study Graham Street Market (Chapter 3)


Review of its history, current situation and future development

Process, Methods and Findings (Chapter 4)


To explore the work done by various parties in understanding the social value of Graham Street Market by the
following 3 approaches:
i)

Physical field work (through observation and interview).

ii)

Individual meetings with representatives of the Urban Renewal Authority, the Central and Western District

iii)

Focus group meeting with a group of current/ex-students of the Architectural Conservation Programme of

Council and St James Settlement


the University of Hong Kong.

Analysis & Synthesis of Findings (Chapter 5)


Low Awareness of Heritage Values
Limited Understanding of Social Value and Social Significance Assessment

Proposal on Social Significance Assessment Framework (Chapter 5)


Based on the concept of Chris Johnston and her previous work on social significance assessment to propose a
framework with 3 assessment criteria community esteem, sense of loss and community identity.

Conclusion and Inspirations (Chapter 6)


The necessity of developing a social significance assessment framework
The relation with collective memory and social value
The Inevitability of Heritage Conservation Issue Becoming Involved in Local Politics

Limitations of the Study (Chapter 6)

11

Bibliography and Reference


English Publications
Byrne, Dennis, Helen Brayshaw, Tracy Ireland. Social Significance: A Discussion
Paper. Hurstville: Research Unit, Cultural Heritage Division, NSW National
Parks and Wildlife Service, 2002.
HKSAR Government, 1999 Policy Address, Policy Objectives. Hong Kong: Hong
Kong SAR Government Printer, 1999.
Home Affairs Bureau. Review of Built Heritage Conservation Policy Consultation
Document. Hong Kong: Hong Kong SAR Government Printer, February 2004.
Johnston, Chris. What Is Social Value? Canberra: Australian Government Publishing
Service, 1994.
Kerr, James Semple. Conservation Plan: A Guide to the Preparation of Conservation
th
Plans for Places of European Cultural Significance. 5 ed, National Trust of
New South Wales Australia, 2000.
Tse, F Y. Market and Street Trading: A Conceptual Framework. Hong Kong: Social
Research Centre, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, March 1974.
Van Zanlean, Wim (ed). Glossary Intangible Cultural Heritage. Prepared by an
international meeting of experts at UNESCO, 10 12 June 2002.

Internet Publications
Antiquities and Monuments Office, Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the
Hong Kong SAR Government Listing of the 81 declared monuments.
Viewed at: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/Monument/en/monuments_list.php on 4
March 2007.
Burra Charter. The Australia ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of
Cultural Significance.
Viewed at : http://www.icomos.org/australia/burra.html on 3 November 2005.
Canada ICOMOS, Charter for the Preservation of Quebecs Heritage (Deschambault
Declaration 1982.).
Viewed at http://www.icomos.org/docs/desch_anglais.html on 3 November 2005.
UNESCO, Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Viewed at : http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ev.phpURL_ID=2225&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.htm on 3
November 2005.

12

Chapter 2
Street Trading and Evolution of Market Activities in
Hong Kong

2.1

Background

Urban area markets called Shih () have been well established since the Chou
Dynasty (). They soon grow in size and have become important commercial
areas after the development of mixed shops and market stalls developed in many of
the Chinese cities.

In Hong Kong, street trading and market activities have been a feature of life for more
than one hundred and fifty years.

A market is an agglomeration of street traders

commonly known as hawkers or shiu fann in Cantonese (). They are generally
licensed, either itinerant or holding fixed pitch stalls but there are also unlicensed or
illegal hawkers.

There are four types of agglomerations, namely focused, bazaar type, street of
specialized commodities or services and night bazaars.1 Although street trading in
markets at large refers to any of these four types, it is the so called street market
which is the main focus of this study. Street market in this study refers to the
agglomeration of street traders/hawkers along a street which sells foodstuffs. They
are distinguished from the public markets located inside government multi-purposed
buildings or public housing estates. Street markets are also called wet markets as the
streets are always wet; the wetness comes from the water which is frequently splashed
onto the vegetables to keep them fresh.

For details of the four different types of agglomerations, please refer to McGee, TG. Hawkers in
Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, 1973.

13

Before getting into the Graham Street Market, which will be discussed in Chapter 3,
the general concept of markets such as the economic and social functions, the
transformation of street market trading and the evolution process of street market to
the development of supermarket in Hong Kong will be explained in the following
sections.

2.2

Street Market an Economic and Social Institution

Market is a feature of low level retail development2 in which economic transactions


take place and where the main actors hawkers, shoppers/customers, enforcement
agents, the general public (such as local residents, street-users) are interrelated in
many levels both socially and economically.

2.2.1

Relationship among Hawkers

Normally in a market, hawkers selling similar products are agglomerated so as to


provide convenience for shopping and attract the patronage of shoppers for repeated
visits.

However, this agglomeration also bring along economic rivalry among

hawkers and the outcome of which, very often, is mutual hostility and antagonism.
Nevertheless, this negative relationship will dissolve whenever alliance or mutual
assistance is required particularly in fighting against external forces such as the raids
and arrests by Government enforcement agents.3

Tse, F Y. Market and Street Trading: A Conceptual Framework. Hong Kong: Social Research
Centre, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, March 1994.
Smart, Josephine. The Political Economy of Street Hawkers in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Centre of
Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, 1989.

14

2.2.2

Relationship between Hawkers and Shoppers

Economically, hawkers and shoppers supply one anothers demand at agreed prices.4
Traditionally, shoppers of street markets are mainly Chinese of middle or old age. To
them, the purchase of fresh foods at the street market is a daily shopping routine. The
close proximity of the stalls that sell similar items provides them the convenience for
comparing quality and prices.5 Although dishonesty is practiced by some hawkers,
shoppers learn to avoid the most unethical ones and patronize only those whom they
obtain goods at competitive prices. This regular trading relationship is of mutual
economic advantage as shoppers get valued goods and favourable services while
hawkers secure business from loyal patronage.

This regular trading relationship

therefore brings along a balanced, reciprocal and personal relationship.6

2.2.3

Relationship between Hawkers and Enforcement Agent

Today, except in areas under the scrutiny of the Housing Authority, the management
and control of street hawkers is the responsibility of the 191 Hawker Control Teams7
of the Food and Environment Hygiene Department (FEHD) of the Hong Kong SAR
Government. As it is the responsibility of the Hawker Control Team to prevent
irregularities caused by hawkers, conflicts between the Hawker Control Teams and
the hawkers are inevitable and, in fact, have never stopped in the history of hawker
control. Recently, their relationship is getting very tense and unfortunate tragedies
follow one another when illegal hawkers attempt to flee from the raids of Hawker
Control Team.8

5
6

Cited by Smart, Josephine (1989) from Kerridge, Eric Early Modern English Market in B L
Anderson and A J H Latham (ed) The Market in History. New Hampshire: Croom Helm 1986.
Ho, Suk-ching. Evolution Versus Tradition in Marketing Systems: The Hong Kong Food-Retailing
Experience. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 24(1), 2005:90.
Smart, Josephine. The Political Economy of Street Hawkers in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Centre of
Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, 1989.
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department Annual Report 2005.
Viewed at http://www.fehd.gov.hk/publications/annualrpt/2005/index.html, on 12 August 2006.
Examples of these tragedies can be seen from reports made by Wong, Benjamin. Investigation
Launched into Officers' Actions in Hawker Raid. South China Morning Post, 7 April 2006:4; and
Lam, Agnes, Fion Li and Ng Kang-chung. Hawker Dies after River Leap to Avoid Raid. South
China Morning Post, 27 June 2006:1.

15

2.2.4

Relationship between Hawkers and the Others

Hawkers have a love and hate relationship with nearby shop owners, local residents
and street-users. Without doubt, hawkers offer convenient services and provide goods
at competitive prices. They do not only attract shoppers to patronize at their stalls but
also the shops nearby. However, their activities do cause congestion in areas of heavy
pedestrian flow and vehicular traffic, hygiene and sanitation problems and unfair
competition to shop owners. As such, there are always split public opinions on
hawker issues.

2.3

Transformation of Street Market Trading and the Evolution from Street

Market to the Development of Supermarket

Street market trading is viewed as one continuum ranging from itinerant trading to
fixed permanent trading.9 A comparison of photos of street markets in the early days
and nowadays Hong Kong (Plates 2.1 2.4) has indicated the stages through which
these trading modes are evolved.

Tse, F Y. Market and Street Trading: A Conceptual Framework, Hong Kong: The Chinese
University of Hong Kong, Social Research Centre, 1974.

16

Plate 2.1: Itinerant Hawkers of a Street Market in


Hong Kong c1900
(Source : Photo probably by James Ricalton, Universal Photo Art Co;
cited by Wue, Roberta. Picturing Hong Kong: Photography 1855
1910. New York: Asia Society Galleries in association with South China
Morning Post, Hong Kong, 1997)

Plate 2.2: Itinerant and Fixed Pitch Hawkers on


Hong Kong Island, 1970s
(Source: Photo by Information Services, Hong Kong Government, cited in
Topley, Marjorie (ed). Hong Kong: The Interaction of Traditions and Life in the
Town. Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, June 1975.)

17

Plate 2.3: Fixed Pitch Stall Hawkers Selling Vegetables and Fruits
in Jardines Crescent in 1970s
(Source: McGee, TG. Hawkers in Hong Kong: A Study of Planning and Policy
in a Third World City. Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies
University of Hong Kong, 1973)

Plate 2.4: Fixed Pitch Stalls Lining along Graham Street


(Photo taken by author in early morning of 29 November 2005)

18

The evolution of street trading illustrates the standpoint that the higher the level of
commercialization of a country, the greater is the degree of permanence,
specialization and institutionalization of the marketing activity. 10 However, the
shaping of the various forms of retail marketing channels in contemporary Hong
Kong is partly due to Government intervention and partly due to strategic marketing
decisions in the business world.

To understand the subject topic of this study better, it is important to understand the
history of Governments policies towards hawkers and how the three major marketing
channels Hawker Permitted Place, Public Market and Supermarket are evolved.
They are explained in the following sections.

2.3.1

Government Policies towards Street Trading and Hawking Activities

Street trading and hawker problems have existed for years.

Hawkers cause

obstructions, disorders, unfair competitions with shop and public market sellers,
hazards to public health, and even bribery in the police force. It is always the
Government policy to control hawkers and street trading activities. In the early days,
instead of recognizing the important role of hawkers and street traders in the retailing
structure, and to accommodate them as the public seemed to demand, the Government
policy, as pointed out by McGee,11 was to remove them from the retailing structure.
This attitude was indicated as early as 1845 by the enforcement of the Laws Relating
to Public Health and Sanitation in Hong Kong, in which a person was liable to a fine
of five pounds if he should:

10
11

Ibid, p.28.
McGee, TG. Hawkers in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong
Kong, 1973:51.

19

expose anything for sale in or upon, or so to hang over any carriageway or


footway, or on the outside of any house or shop, or who shall set up or
continue any pole, blind, awning, line or any other projection from any
window, parapet, or other part of any house, shop or other building, so as to
cause any annoyance or obstruction in any thoroughfare. 12

In the 1930s, in order to see all hawkers cleared off the streets and hawking as a trade
abolished,13 the issue of hawker licences (both itinerant and fixed stall) was tightened.
However, this measure was ineffective as illegal hawkers continued to increase due to
persistent increase of population in Hong Kong caused by influx of refugees from
China, the high unemployment rate and the low entrant barrier of street trading. In
1947, to stabilize the number of hawkers in certain areas, efforts were made to
relocate them to certain open markets mainly in side streets where fixed pitches of
equal sizes were established for itinerant hawkers.14 The Government has also tried to
absorb street traders in public markets and during the period up to 1960, some 14
public markets were built. However, this policy was not effective either as open
spaces for markets and fixed pitches for hawkers were far less than the hawker
population.

12

13

14

Cited by McGee, TG. Hawkers in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies, University of
Hong Kong, 1973:36.
Cited from Todd Memorandum, 1936, by McGee, TG. Hawkers in Hong Kong. Hong Kong:
Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, 1973:39.
Cited from Megarry Report 1947, by Mcgee, TG. Hawkers in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Centre of
Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, 1973:44.

20

In 1952, the Government reappraised the hawker policies and decided to issue
licences on an unrestricted basis to absorb the unemployed. However, following the
riots in 1967, the Government reverted to the restrictive policies and in 1969, it was
affirmed that no new licence would be issued to hawkers. The attitude towards
hawker control was softened again when Hong Kong suffered an economic recession
in 1973 1974. Consequently, a trial scheme called the Hawker Permitted Areas was
introduced. Under the Scheme, even hawkers without licences could trade in the
Hawker Permitted Areas. The Scheme had many problems as it was difficult to
restrict hawking activities within the trading areas. Soon afterwards, the licence
policy was readopted and in 1981, hawkers were reordered again into fixed pitches.

In 1987, the Urban Council Working Party on Hawker and Related Policies
recommended that as hawking was a fact of life in Hong Kong, its existence should be
tolerated insofar as it does not cause unacceptable congestion, obstruction or hygiene
nuisance.15

In 1993, The Government again considered phasing out the licence for hawkers.
Since then, no new licences have been issued. Eligible licensed hawkers are being
relocated into public markets. In addition, incentives in term of ex-gratia payment are
being offered to encourage hawkers to either give up their licences or move into the
public markets. As a result, the number of licensed hawkers, both fixed pitch and
itinerant, fell to 7,767 by the end of 2005.16

15

16

Urban Council and Urban Services Department. Report and Recommendations of the Urban
Council Working Party on Hawker and Related Policies. Hong Kong: Government Printer, 1987:
53.
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department Annual Report 2005.
Viewed at http://www.fehd.gov.hk/publications/annualrpt/2005/index.html on 12 August 2006.

21

2.3.2

Hawker Permitted Place

As aforesaid, subsequent to the economic recession of 1973 1974, an experimental


scheme, the Hawker Permitted Areas, was introduced. Both licensed and unlicensed
hawkers were allowed to operate within these areas. Spaces were taken daily on a
first-come-first-served basis. Problems arose as there was no restriction as to who
could hawk in these areas. Furthermore, streets in the hawker permitted areas were
often blocked by vehicles which delivered goods thereto.

In 1980, the Hawker Re-Ordering Scheme was introduced. Fixed pitch licences were
issued to itinerant and unlicensed hawkers who had been operating in the same place
for more than 10 years. The purpose of this scheme was to allow these hawkers to
operate in designated areas in an orderly manner so that when new public markets
were built, they could be accorded priority to move into the public markets. The
designated areas are eventually called Hawker Permitted Places. Under the Hawker
(Permitted Places) Declaration, Chapter 132 section 83B(4), the extent of all Hawker
Permitted Places and the number of pitches are listed.17 The Graham Street Market is
one of the designated Hawker Permitted Places.

Despite the introduction of the Hawker Permitted Places, it remains the policy of the
Government to see gradual reduction of street markets and to move the hawkers into
appropriate market buildings.18 Furthermore, upon the death of fixed pitch hawker

17

Hawker (Permitted Places) Declaration, Chapter 132 Subsidiary Legislation, published under
section2(3) of the Laws Ordinance 1990, up to date as of 8 June 2001, Hong Kong: The Hong Kong
SAR Government Printer.
18
Urban Council and Urban Services Department. Report and Recommendations of the Urban Council
Working Party on Hawker and Related Policies. Hong Kong: Government Printer, 1987.

22

licensees, their licence can only be transferred to immediate family members on a


succession basis.

Hence, the number of street markets and fixed pitch stalls is

decreasing year by year.

2.3.3

Public Markets

As indicated in the previous sections, the development of public markets is


inextricably linked to the history of relocating hawkers.

The number of public

markets has grown from 4 to 15 during the period from 1900s to 1930s, and some 14
more markets were built in the 50s and 60s.19 As the standard of living of Hong Kong
people got higher, outdated market buildings in the urban area were demolished 20 and
were replaced by Government multi-purposed buildings.

These government-built retail public markets are considered alien trading


institutions21 to free streets and public areas from hawking activities, thus eliminating
a serious source of problems related to environmental hygiene, food safety and
pedestrian obstruction.22
To attract hawkers to move in, these public markets are equipped with electricity,
water, telephones, and sometimes latrines and public baths. Nowadays some of the
public markets are even air-conditioned.

19

Cited in McGee, TG. Hawkers in Hong Kong, Hong Kong : Centre of Asian Studies, University of
Hong Kong, 1973:37.
20
For example, four markets located at Lockhart Road, Western, Quarry Bay and Sai Wan Ho, were
demolished during 1982-83.
21
Tse, F Y. Market and Street Trading: A Conceptual Framework. Hong Kong: The Chinese
University of Hong Kong, Social Research Centre 1974: 12.
22
Competition Policy Advisory Group, The Administrations Response to the Consumer Councils
Report on Competition in the Foodstuffs and Household Necessities Retailing Sector, Hong Kong:
Hong Kong SAR Government. Viewed at www.compag.gov.hk/reference/cc.pdgf on 24 July 2006.

23

At present, these public markets are largely managed by the Food and Environmental
Hygiene Department (FEHD) and the Housing Authority. As an indication, FEHD is
now managing 104 public markets providing some 15,500 market stalls.23

It has been criticized that no critical assessment on the required number of markets
has been made at the time of their construction resulting in an oversupply of public
markets across the territory, clustering a number of markets in the same location
while having low occupancy rates of market stalls in some cases.24 In fact, in recent
years, the businesses in both the street and public markets have lost ground to
supermarkets, arousing public concerns of the sustainability of both street and public
markets.

2.3.4

Development of Supermarkets

Although it is partly due to government intervention which see the gradual reduction
of street markets, the changing habits of shoppers to patronize more and more in
supermarkets for foodstuffs is probably one of the main reasons for the disappearance
of many of the street markets in Hong Kong.
Supermarkets, as a modern retail technology, were introduced to Hong Kong in the
mid-1950s. At that time, supermarkets were established almost exclusively to serve

23

Office of the Ombudsman. Executive Summary of the Investigation Report of Letting of Market
Stalls by Auction. Issue No1 of Reporting Year 2005/2006, Hong Kong: Office of the Ombudsman,
7 April 2005.
Viewed at http://www.ombudsman.gov.hk/english/06_direct_investigation/doc_07/2005_04_01.doc
on 20 July 2006.
24
Consumer Council Report on Competition in the Foodstuffs and Household Necessities Retailing
Sector Findings and Recommendations.
Hong Kong: Consumer Council. Viewed at
http://www.consumer.org.hk/website/ws_en/competition_issues/competition_studies/20030811super
mkt.html on 24 July 2006.

24

the needs of the group of expatriates and a segment of the affluent local population
who were familiar with the Western lifestyles.25

In the 1970s as the living standard of the Hong Kong people has generally improved
and as more women joined the labour force leaving little time for household chores,
demand for more hygienic, trendy, convenient and efficient service in the purchase of
foodstuffs and household products has increased. Supermarkets satisfy the demand of
these groups of people and so their number grew rapidly.

Since 1985, the

supermarket industry has entered a maturity stage. Shopping at supermarkets has


become a daily activity of the people in Hong Kong. In 1992, it was estimated that
supermarkets in Hong Kong controlled about 40% or $13 billion of the Hong Kongs
food business, excluding meals away from home.26

Traditionally, Chinese people perceive that only street markets and public markets
offered fresh foods. Therefore, they divided their patronage pattern into two-stop
shopping for fresh foods, they went to street markets or public markets, for other
packaged foodstuffs, they went to supermarkets. Realizing this buying behavior, in
1996, a large supermarket chain took the initiative and introduced the superstore and
one-stop shopping concept. This is a supermarket-cum-wet market in which the wet
market part assimilating the operations of a street market where different types of
stalls selling fresh meat and vegetables, are operated by individual attendants. This
mini-wet market inside the superstore is clean and hygienic, unlike a street market
which is dirty and wet. Together with the deep-rooted image of supermarket
25

Ho, Suk-ching. Evolution Versus Tradition in Marketing Systems: The Hong Kong Food-Retailing
Experience. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 24(1), 2005.
26
Ho, Suk-ching and Research Staff of the Consumer Council. Report of the Supermarket Industry in
Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Consumer Council, 1994.

25

convenience, quick service, diversified product assortment the one-stop shopping


superstore concept soon obtained favourable response from customers and has
become the core for supermarket development in Hong Kong. In 2003, there were
approximately 70 superstores in Hong Kong. The business in the street markets and
the public markets further deteriorated.27

2.4

Conclusion

In this Chapter, the social and economic relationship in street trading has been briefly
explained.

Besides, it also reveals that both the government policies and the

marketing strategies in private sector have significant impacts on the evolution of


retail market activities in Hong Kong. Street markets are facing keen competitions
not only with public markets but also with supermarkets and had to struggle for
survival. With this socio-cultural knowledge of the environmental background of
Hong Kong, it is hoped that it can provide a backdrop for the understanding of the
place under study, that is, the Graham Street Market.

27

For more details of the development of supermarkets in Hong Kong, please refer to Ho, Suk Ching
and Lau, Ho-fuk. "Development of Supermarket Technology: The Incomplete Transfer
Phenomenon", International Marketing Review, 5 (1), 1988: 20-30, and Ho, Suk-ching. Evolution
Versus Tradition in Marketing Systems: The Hong Kong Food-Retailing Experience. Journal of
Public Policy & Marketing, 24(1), 2005.

26

Bibliography and Reference


English Publications
Bina, Sujanani. An Analysis of the Urban Councils Hawker Control Policy.
Thesis of the Degree of Master of Social Sciences in Public Administration,
University of Hong Kong, 1984.
Choi, Pauline. Hawker Policies in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Centre of Urban Studies
and Urban Planning, University of Hong Kong, 1986.
Hikaru, Kinoshita. Chapter 2 The Street Market as an Urban Facility in Hong Kong,
in Public Places in Asia pacific Cities: Current Issues and Strategies, edited
by Pu Miao, Dordrecht ; Boston, MA : Kluwer Academic Publishers,
2001:71 86
Ho, Suk-ching. Evolution Versus Tradition in Marketing Systems: The Hong Kong
Food-Retailing Experience. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 24(1),
2005.
______ and Lau Ho-fuk. "Development of Supermarket Technology: The Incomplete
Transfer Phenomenon." International Marketing Review, 5(1), 1988:20 30.
______ and Research Staff of the Consumer Council. Report of the Supermarket Industry
in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Consumer Council, 1994.
Kerridge, Eric. Early Modern English Market in B L Anderson and A J H Latham
(ed) The Market in History, New Hampshire: Croom Helm 1986.
Mao, Wai-man. Hawker Control in Hong Kong. Thesis of the Master of Arts in
Public Order, Centre for the Study of Public Order University of Leicester in
association with the School of Professional and Continuing Education, University
of Hong Kong, 1996.
McGee T G. Hawkers in Hong Kong.
University of Hong Kong, 1973.

Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies,

______. Hawkers in Hong Kong: A Study of Planning and Policy in a Third World
City. Hong Kong : Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, 1973.
Smart, Josephine. The Political Economy of Street Hawkers in Hong Kong. Hong
Kong: Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong. 1989.
Topley, Marjorie (ed). Hong Kong: The Interaction of Traditions and Life in the
Towns. Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, June 1975.
Tse, F Y. Market and Street Trading: A Conceptual Framework. Hong Kong: Social
Research Centre, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, March 1974.

27

Vines, Elizabeth. Streetwise Asia: A Practical Guide for the Conservation and
Revitalization of Heritage Cities and Towns in Asia. Norwood, Australia:
McDougall and Vines, 2004.
Urban Councils Working Party to Review Hawker and Related Policies. The Report
and Recommendations of the Urban Council's Working Party to Review
Hawker and Related Policies. Hong Kong : Government Printer, 1987.
Urban Councils Working Party to Review Hawker and Related Policies.
Consultation Paper of the Urban Council Working Party on Hawker and
Related Policies. Hong Kong: Government Printer 1985.
Wue, Roberta. Picturing Hong Kong: Photography 1855 1910, New York: Asia
Society Galleries in association with South China Morning Post, Hong Kong,
1997.

Chinese Publications
2000
2003
Internet Publications
Consumer Council. Wet markets are in danger of gradual decline which could have
serious implications to consumers in the competitive choices of foodstuffs and
household necessities in general and fresh produce in particular. Press
Release on 11 August 2003.
View at
http://www.consumer.org.hk/website/ws_en/news/press_releases/WetMarkets20030811.html,
on 24 July 2006.
Consumer Council, Report on the Competition in the Foodstuffs and Household
Necessities Retailing Sector Findings and Recommendations August 2003,
Viewed at
http://www.consumer.org.hk/website/ws_en/competition_issues/competition_studies/2003081
1supermkt.html on 24 July 2006.

Competition Policy Advisory Group. The Administrations Response to the


Consumer Councils Report on Competition in the Foodstuffs and Household
Necessities Retailing Sector.
Viewed at http://compag.gov/hk/reference/cc.pdf on 24 July 2006.
Legislative Council Panel on Economic Services Follow-up to the Consumer Council's
Report on Competition in the Foodstuffs and Household Necessities Retailing
Sector, published on 20 February 2004.
Viewed at www.legco.gov.hk/yr03-04/english/panels/es/papers/es0223cb1-1043-1e.pdf on
24 July 2006.

28

Office of the Ombudsman. Executive Summary of the Investigation Report of


Letting of Market Stalls by Auction Issue No1 of Reporting Year 2005/2006,
Hong Kong: Office of the Ombudsman, 7 April 2005.
Viewed at:
http://www.ombudsman.gov.hk/english/06_direct_investigation/doc_07/2005_04_01.doc on
20 July 2006.

29

Chapter 3
Case Study Graham Street Market

13

3.1

Contextual Location of Street Markets in Central District

3.1.1 The History Related to the Site Context Dating back from the 1840s to Mid
1900s
The Central District was the earliest urbanized area with the first land sale held as far
back as June 1841. While the commercial and financial area was located between
Queens Road and the waterfront, the slope south of Queens Road, the main
thoroughfare, was a commercial and residential area. At the beginning of the 1840s,
the population of the whole of Hong Kong was only a few thousand but the demand
for Chinese labourers to help in the construction of western architectural buildings for
the British and other foreigners, or domestic servants for the westerners, or workers
running foreign trade errands, was far greater than the population could support.
Many Chinese from the nearby Canton Province sought the opportunity and came to
Hong Kong, with the intention to gain a little wealth from these foreigners ().
Soon their successful stories reached their home villages and even more labourers
flocked to Hong Kong. As these labourers required a lot of foodstuffs and daily
necessities to maintain their living in Hong Kong, opportunities arose for the poor and
less educated Cantonese who brought along the agricultural and poultry products all
the long way from their villages around Canton to Hong Kong. They landed at the
pier in Central and traded in a void land in Queens Road Central at the foothill of
Cochrane Street. This marketplace was called the Canton Bazaar, named after the
origin of the hawkers. 1 In 1895, the Government established a 2-storey red brick
pitched roofed market building at that site. This was the first Central Market before it

The location of the Canton Bazaar was identified by Cheng Po-hung. A Century of Hong Kong
Roads and Streets. Hong Kong: Joint Publishing (HK) Ltd, 2000:89.

30

was replaced by the Bauhaus-style one in 1938.2 In the vicinity of the Central Market,
there were plenty of street trade and market activities, such as those in Jubilee Street
and along the slopes south of Queens Road Central in Cochrane Street, Gutzlaff
Street, Graham Street, Peel Street, Stanley Street, Wellington Street and Gage Street.
Plate 3.1:
A View of Wellington Street in
1890s
(Source : Wue, Roberta. Picturing
Hong Kong: Photography 1855
1910. New York: Asia Society
Galleries in association with South
China Morning Post, Hong Kong,
1997.)

Plate 3.2:
A View of Jubilee Street c1925
(Source: Cheng Po Hung. A Century of
Hong Kong Roads and Streets. Hong
Kong: Joint Publishing (HK) Ltd, 2000.)

For details, please refer to 23 24


34 35 118 119
2001.

31

Plate 3.3: A View of Cochrane Street c1941

Plate 3.4: A View of Peel Street c1959

(Source: Cheng Po-hung. Hong Kong through


postcard: 1940s 1970s. Hong Kong: Joint
Publishing (HK) Co Ltd, 1997)

(Source: Zhong Wen-lue. Pictures of Hong Kong and


Its People 1950s 1980s: Remains in Memories.
Hong Kong: Commercial Press, 1997)

32

Plate 3.5: A View of Graham Street c1958


Photo by Mak Fung
(Source: Mak Fung, Hong Kong
Once Was : 1997)

Plate 3.6: A View of Gage Street, c1959


Photo by Mak Fung
(Source: Cited by South China Morning Post,
Waving Nostalgia Farewell, 10 January 1998)

33

3.1.2

Contemporary Site Context

Throughout the last century, the waterfront north of Queens Road Central was
reclaimed for the establishment of the Town Hall and the headquarters for the legal,
financial and international trading activities. This area has become the Central
Business District. The Old Central, that is, the area south of Queens Road Central
and roughly west of Cochrane Street up to the Sheung Wan District, has now become
the outskirt of the Central Business District. However, even at this outskirt area, city
redevelopment and the need for commercial land have changed the streetscape,
particularly in the recent 20 years. Many of the pre-war tenement buildings are
replaced by skyscrapers and the street trading scenes are vanishing. For example, the
winding alleys between Bonham Strand and Wing Lok Street have been replaced by
Cosmo Plaza, and its marble piazza; and part of Wing On Street has given way to The
Centre, and the busy and vibrant street market scenes of Cochrane Street is replaced
by the Central/Mid Levels Escalators.

Plate 3.7: Queens Road Central and


The Centre

Plate 3.8: Central/Mid Levels Escalators,


Cochrane Street Section

(Photo taken by author on 30 December 2006)

(Photo taken by author on 30 December 2006)

34

Even the stretched area towards the Mid-Levels direction, like the upper part of
Graham Street and Peel Street, Hollywood Road, Elgin Street and Staunton Street,
which is now commonly known as SoHo, is invaded by western culture with stylish
eateries and bars. It is therefore quite a surprise to many that traditional street trading
and market activities can still be found in the neighbourhood along Gutzlaff Street,
Graham street, Peel Street, Stanley Street, Wellington Street and Gage Street, making
it the unique surviving Old Central (Diagram 3.1 refers).

Diagram 3.1: Site Map Indicating the Street Trading and Market Activities of the Old
Central and SoHo Areas
Rough Locations of SoHo
Old Central with traditional street
trading and market activities

5
1

Peel Street

Graham Street

Gutzlaff Street

Stanley Street

Wellington Street

Gage Street

35

3.2

The Study Area - Graham Street Market

Similar to the naming of many streets in early Hong Kong, Graham Street was named
after a colonial official, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Hope Graham who was deployed
to Hong Kong during the period 1852 1859. 3

Graham Street is one of the oldest streets in Hong Kong. Although many of the old
buildings, especially those near to Queens Road Central and those near to Hollywood
Road, were replaced by new commercial buildings, on the section between Stanley
Street and Gage Street, there still remain a lot of residential/commercial buildings
constructed between the pre-war period and the 1970s.

Along Graham Street are pitch stalls selling mainly vegetables and fruits. Pitch stalls
in fact can also be found in the vicinity streets such as Stanley Street, Wellington
Street, Gage Street, Gutzlaff Street and Peel Street. All the pitch stalls together with
the retail shops form the Old Central Street Market. However, in this study, focus is
made mainly on the pitch stalls in Graham Street between Queens Road Central in
the north and Hollywood Road in the south, and the term Graham Street Market is
used in this respect.

Although some said that the Graham Street Market was the most ancient one,4 there
was difference of opinion.5 Nevertheless, from the memories of those who have lived
in Central or from photos of Graham Street 6 in the 1940s 60s, the street scene and

4
5

: Hong Kong Place


Viewed at http://www.hk-place.com/view.php?id=330 on 12 April 2006.
2006 6 25 A03
At an incidental meeting on 25 May 2006, Mr Cheng Po-hung, author of A Century of Hong Kong
Roads and Streets. Hong Kong: Joint Publishing (HK) Ltd, 2000, indicated to the author that from a
photo dated 1920s which he possessed, the Graham Street was clear of hawker stalls.
This is not only the impression of the author, but are also the personal experience of the mother of
Mr Ho Yiu-sang, photographer Mr Mak Fung. Please refer to
2005 and, Mak Fung.
Hong Kong Once Was : 1997.

36

the atmosphere of buying and selling today is more or less the same as that half a
century ago.

Plate 3.9:
A View of Graham Street in 1950s
(Source: Cheng Po Hung. Hong Kong
Through Postcard: 1940s 1970s. Hong
Kong: Joint Publishing (HK) Co Ltd, 1997.)

Plate 3.10:
A View of Graham Street in 1970s
Photo by Ho Fang
(Source: Photography in Hong Kong
1970 1975. Sing Tao Newspaper Ltd.)

37

Plate 3.11:
A View of Graham Street
looking from Queens Road
Central
(Photo taken by author on 27 September
2006)

Plate 3.12:
A View of Graham Street
looking from Wellington Street
(Photo taken by author on 3 October
2006)

Plate 3.13:
A View of Graham Street on
the Section between Wellington
Street and Gage Street
(Photo taken by author on 3 October
2006)

38

Probably because the Graham Street Market was considered to be one of the most
representative street markets in Hong Kong and so during a royal visit to Hong Kong
in 1975, Queen Elizabeth II was arranged to take an unscheduled trip to the Graham
Street Market.7
Plates 3.14 a & b: Accompanied by Governor Sir Murray MacLehose,
Queen Elizabeth II Visited the Graham Street Market on 5 May 1975
Photo by Chu Shi Hung
Source : http://photo.scmp.com

South China Morning Post, 5 May 2005.

39

Jason Wordie8 has described the street scene of todays Graham Street vividly,

Situated directly across The Centre is Graham Street and its daily fresh food
gai see or street-market. This narrow lane remainsan earthly and vital slice of
the real Hong Kong, rapidly vanishing in other places .

Many of Centrals office-workers stop off here on their way home to pick up
some really fresh bean curd, fish and vegetables for dinner, instead of settling
for the frequently stale produce on offer in the supermarkets.

Today the Graham Street Market is designated as a Hawker Permitted Place.


According to the Hawker (Permitted Places) Declaration, Chapter 132, (updated on 8
June 2001), there were all together 121 pitch stalls in Graham Street. However,
owing to the passing away of some pitch stall owners together with government
policy prohibiting transfer of ownership except to immediate family members on a
succession basis, at present, there remains only 62 hawker stalls.9

8
9

Wordie, Jason. Streets: Exploring Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press,
2002:34.
Statistics based on written and verbal replies from Hawkers Section (Central/Western), Operations
Division 1, Central / Western District Environmental Hygiene Office of the Food and Environment
Hygiene Department on 15 and 17 August 2006 respectively.

40

The Hawker Distribution of the studied section of Graham Street is depicted in


Diagram 3.2.10

Diagram 3.2: The Distribution of Hawker Stalls on the


Studied Section of Graham Street

Fixed Pitch Hawker Stall Vegetables


Fixed Pitch Hawker Stall Wet and Dried Foods
Fixed Pitch Peddler Vegetables
Fixed Pitch Peddler Wet and Dried Foods
Fixed Pitch of Tradesmen Service
Fixed Pitch - Hardware (Watches)

10

The diagram was compiled with the assistance of Health Inspector Lee Man Wai and her colleague,
Hawkers Section (Central/Western), Operations Division 1, Central / Western District Environmental
Hygiene Office of the Food and Environment Hygiene Department, on 3 October 2006.

41

3.3

Urban Redevelopment Project

Like many other old districts in Hong Kong, urban redevelopment seems to be the
ultimate fate.

In 1998, the redevelopment project of Peel Street/Graham Street,

namely H18 project, was announced by the Land Development Corporation,


predecessor of Urban Rural Authority (URA). It was then planned that the area
would be redeveloped principally for residential and commercial uses but the
redevelopment project was set aside until 2005 when it was brought back for
discussion. After two years of public consultations, community engagement exercises,
discussions with the Central and Western District Council and several changes to the
initial plans, a drafted Master Layout Plan was submitted by URA to the Town
Planning Board in late January 2007 for consideration. The Plan has been accepted
and the redevelopment plan will soon be commenced.

Diagrams 3.3, 3.4 and 3.5 depict the Site Plan of the URAs Peel Street/Graham
Street Project, the Conceptual Redevelopment Layout Plan and an envisaged scene of
Graham Street after the redevelopment.

42

Diagram 3.3: Site Plan of Peel Street/Graham Street


(H18 of URAs Redevelopment Project)
Source : http://www.ura.org.hk/usrAtt/1002000/site_plan.jpg

43

Diagram 3.4: Conceptual Redevelopment Layout Plan of


URAs Peel Street/Graham Street
Source : http://www.ura.org.hk/usrAtt/1002000/H18_(6).jpg

Diagram 3.5: An Envisaged Scene of Graham Street after Redevelopment


Source :http://www.ura.org.hk/usrAtt/1002000/H18_AI_(4).jpg

44

According to the Master Layout Plan of URA, the following activities of Graham
Street will be preserved or re-created:

To preserve/conserve:
(a) three prewar shop houses at 26A- 26C Graham Street and put to adaptive re-use
(b) the local physical street character and its atmosphere
(c) the street trading activities

To create:
(d) an Old Shop Street
(e) community facilities, public open space and greening facilities

Street beautification works will also be carried out to retain street vibrancy through
promoting pubic arts, performances and exhibitions in open-air venues.11

11

Urabn Renewal Authority. Community Workshop on Peel Street/Graham Street (H18) Project.
New, Viewed at : http://www.ura.org.hk/html/c1002062e178e.html on 9 September 2006.
Press Information on URA Peel Street Redevelopment Project, 26 February 2007.
Viewed at http://www.ura.org.hk/html/c1002071e1e.html, on 13 May 2007.

45

3.4

Conclusion

It is planned that after redevelopment, Graham Street will be a step street as it was the
original appearance of Graham Street before the 1920s. Chinese traditional brand
retailers will be attracted to move into the shops along the sides of the streets.
However, has the first stage Understanding the Place of Kerrs Basic Elements and
Sequence of a Conservation Plan12 been carried out before the second stage the
Conservation policy and its implementation is commenced?

Has the

Redevelopment Plan taken into account of what conservationists like Chris Johnston13
advocate?

The answers to these questions may be yes or no. The attempt of this study is not to
criticize the initiatives of URA, but to explore whether a systematic approach on how
to achieve an understanding of a place by taking the social elements into
consideration has been carried out or not, and if not, to explore a possible social value
assessment framework.

12

Kerr, James Semple. Conservation Plan : A Guide to the Preparation of Conservation Plans for
Places of European Cultural Significance. 5th ed, National Trust of New South Wales Australia,
2000.
13
Johnston, Chris. What is Social Value? Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Services, 1994.

46

Bibliography and Reference


English Publications
Cheng, Po-hung. A Century of Hong Kong Roads and Streets. Hong Kong: Joint
Publishing (HK) Ltd, 2000.
______. Hong Kong through Postcards: 1940s 1970s.
Publishing (HK) Co Ltd, 1997.

Hong Kong: Joint

Finlay, Victoria. Waving Nostalgia Farewell South China Morning Post, 10 January
1998.
Johnston, Chris. What is Social Value? Canberra: Australian Government Publishing
Services, 1994.
Kerr, James Semple. Conservation Plan: A Guide to the Preparation of Conservation
Plans for Places of European Cultural Significance, 5th ed, National Trust of
New South Wales Australia, 2000.
Kwong, Kevin. A Hundred Years of Hong Kong. South China Morning Post. 10
March 2004:5.
Lai, Chloe. Public Gets Bigger Role in Planning. South China Morning Post, 11
August 2006.
Wordie, Jason. Streets: Exploring Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong: Hong Kong
University Press, 2002.
Wue, Roberta. Picturing Hong Kong: Photography 1855 1910. New York: Asia
Society Galleries in association with South China Morning Post, Hong Kong,
1997.
Zhong, Wen-lue. Pictures of Hong Kong and Its People 1950s 1980s: Remains in
Memories. Hong Kong: Commercial Press 1997.

47

Chinese Publications

2005
1987

(Mak Fung) Hong Kong Once Was :
1997
2001
2006 6 25 A03
2005 8 13 E11

Internet Publications
: Hong Kong Place
Viewed at http://www.hk-place.com/view.php?id=330, on 12 April 2006.
South China Morning Post Galleries.
Viewed at http://photo.scmp.com on 4 November 2006.
Urban Renewal Authority. Community Workshop on Peel Street/Graham Street
(H18) Project. News
Viewed at http://www.ura.org.hk/html/c1002062e178e.html, on 9 September 2006.
______. Peel Street Redevelopment Project. Press Information 26 February 2007.
Viewed at http://www.ura.org.hk/html/c1002071e1e.html, on 13 May 2007.
Western and Central District Council, Minutes of the 15th Meeting of the Western and
Central District Council held on 19 January 2006.
Viewed at http//www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/central/chinese/welcome.htm on 9 Sep
2006.

48

Chapter 4
Methods, Processes and Findings

4.1

Introduction

With the understanding of street trading and evolution of market activities in Hong
Kong together with the background knowledge of the Graham Street Market and the
soon-to-commence redevelopment project, this Chapter focuses on exploring the work
done by various parties in understanding the social value of Graham Street a place
where the community uses, lives close by and regularly visits.

4.2

Methods

The exploration was made in three major approaches. Firstly, physical field work
carried out by the author. This included observations, an interview with a pitch stall
owner and a telephone interview with an ex-resident of Graham Street. As many
discussions of social value suggest that social significance is derived from the value
attributed to a place by the community, the secondly approach was to interview the
Urban Renewal Authority (URA), the Central and Western District Council (CWDC)
and a social welfare concern organization, St James Settlement, to find out primarily
what and how they obtained the communitys feedback on the value of the place. The
last approach was to hold a focus group meeting with a group of current/ex-students
of the Architectural Conservation Programme (ACP) of the University of Hong Kong
(HKU) to draw this amateur heritage conservation practitioners opinions on social
value and how social significance is to be assessed.

Table 4.1 in the next page outlines details of the interviewees, the objectives and the
timing in which the process was carried out.

49

Table 4.1 : Details of Interviewees, Objectives and Time


Type

Rational/purpose

Observations

To familiarize with the setting and the atmosphere of the study


area by making visits to the site;
To observe the behaviors of the pitch stall owners/ operators, the
shoppers and the passers-by.

Interview with a
pitch stall
owner

Initially to have an oral history, to get human voices and stories


so as to understand the emotional attachment of the stall owner
to the Graham Street Market.
However in reality, only bit and pieces of the interviewees past
experience and memories were obtained.

Mr Ng Chiu, who and his family have


operated the vegetable stall in Graham
Street since 1968.

2:15 pm 2:45 pm, 30 Dec 2006


At the delivery truck of Mr Ng Chiu
parked at the junction of Graham Street
and Hollywood Road

Telephone
Interview with
an ex-resident

To understand if an ex-resident still has emotional attachment to


the area;
To explore if this ex-resident, now an outsider, see any values of
the area.

Mrs Linda Yee, an ex-resident of Graham


Street before she left for USA for further
study in the 1980s. Until early 1990s, her
family operated a store near the Graham
Street Market.

1:45 2:45 pm, 6 Feb 2007


Long distance call to Mrs Linda Yees
home in USA.

Interview with
Urban Renewal
Authority (URA)

URA has made a bottom-up approach to solicit community views


of the Graham Street/Peel Street Redevelopment Project. Since
2005, it has commissioned a survey to explore the public views
and aspirations on the Project, briefed the CWDC on the initial
design concept of the Project; held an exhibition survey and a
community workshop; and consulted the CWDC on the layout
plan before submitting the Master Payout Plan of the Project to
the Town Planning Board.1 The main purpose of the meeting was
to seek what had been done by URA in the understanding of the
place.

Anonymous2

12:30 pm 1:30 pm, 10 May 2007


At a restaurant in Grand Millennium
Plaza, Central.

Interview with

The interview was instigated by a press report3 indicating that St

Mr Ng Sze On, Team Leader of the Urban

10:30 am 11:30 pm, 10 May 2007

Interviewee

Date/Location
11:45 am 12:45 pm 10 Sep 2006; 1:10
pm 1:40 pm, 3 Oct 2006

Urban Renewal Authority. URA Peel Street/Graham Street Redevelopment Project. Press Information on 26 January 2007.
Viewed at http://www.ura.org.hk/html/c1002071e210e.html on 30 April 2007.
The interviewee would prefer not to disclose his/her name.

50

St James
Settlement

James Settlement had conducted an initiative to collect stories of


the old Kai Fong () of the URAs Graham Street/Peel Street
Development site. The purpose of the meeting was to find out
how it was done and what the findings were.

Renewal and Social Service Team, St


James Settlement

At the Conference Room of Urban


Renewal Social Service Team Western
District Community Centre, Sai Ying
Pun, Hong Kong.

Interview with
Central and
Western
District
Councilor

Since one of the functions of the District Council is to pay


constant attention to local issues relating to peoples livelihood
and welfare and to foster communication between members of
the public, government departments and/or community
organizations through effective interchange of view,4 the purpose
of the interview was to ascertain what information has the District
Council sought from the community and how they made use of
the information in giving advice to URA on the Redevelopment
Project of Graham Street/Peel Street.

Mr Chan Chit Kwai, Counciller of CWDC,


Chairman of CWDCs Culture, Leisure and
Social Affairs Committee. Mr Chan had
participated in the Community Workshop of
the Graham Street/Peel Street Project
organized by URA and the 2 briefing
sessions of the Project by URA at the
CWDC Meetings.5

7:30 pm 8:00 pm, 21 May 2007


At the Conference Room of Hong Kong
University Non-Academic Staff
Association, Main Building, HKU

Focus Group
meeting

As former students of the Postgraduate Diploma Course Cultural


Heritage Management at SPACE and graduating students of the
ACP of HKU, this group of amateur heritage conservation
practitioners has a definite understanding on the significance of
various heritage values. The purpose of the meeting is to seek
their opinions on the understanding of social value, the
assessment criteria and the methods used in stating social
significance.

Focus Group members consisted of Ms


May Ho and her husband (both are
architects), Mr. Dennis Lu (architect) and his
wife, Ms Daicie Tong (administrator) and Ms
Janet Ng (surveyor)

10:00 pm 10:30 pm 19 May 2007 at a


restaurant in Central

OO , A16
Central and Western District Council Chairman's Welcome Message by Mr. CHAN Tak-chor, MH,
Viewed at http://www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/central/english/welcome.htm on 30 April 2007.
5
Central and Western District Council, Minutes of the 15th and 19th Meeting, held on 19 Jan 2006 and 5 October 2006 respectively.
Viewed at http://www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/central/chinese/welcome.htm on 9 September 2006 and 5 January 2007 respectively.
4

51

It is worth clarifying here that while the theoretical framework of this study is based
on the concept of Christ Johnstons What Is Social Value?1 in the interviews and
the focus group meeting, the author has tried to avoid as much as possible asking
leading questions in relation to those keys words such as community identity,
meaning of the place, sense of the place, attachment and so on, so that interviewees
could express freely their own opinions without being guided by the author to make
the ideal answers. It was only towards the end of the interviews or meeting, when
the interviewees made no references to those key words, that the author would
mention them, whenever appropriate, to explore the understanding of the interviewees
on those key words in connection to the social significance of the place.

4.3

Findings

4.3.1 Observations
Two observation visits to the Graham Street Market were made; one on Sunday 10
September 2006, and another one on 3 October 2006, the day following the 3-day
National Day and Mid-autumn Festival Holidays. Both visits were around lunch time.
During both visits, the author walked through Graham Street (from Queens Road
Central to Hollywood Road) and the neighbouring Wellington Street and Gage Street
twice. The author had also stationed in front of the shop at 17 Graham Street
(junction between Wellington Street and Graham Street) for half an hour to observe
and to listen to the street trading activities in the market.

Please refer to Chapter 1, 1.4 Theoretical Framework of this study.

52

The street was busier on the second visit than the first one. It was observed that the
streetscape of the lower part of Graham Street (between Gage Street and Queens
Road Central) was not much different from the time the author was living in the
vicinity during the 1960s and 70s. However, there were not as many pitch stalls as
before and there were no longer any itinerant hawkers. The street was not as wet and
dirty as in the old days. The upper part of Graham Street, (between Gage Street and
Hollywood Road), has changed a great deal. However, Chiu Kee (), a large
vegetable pitch stall, still remained there, and its operation seemed even larger than
before.

Many old tenement buildings in the upper part of Graham Street were

replaced by newly built commercial buildings with trendy designers house, boutiques
and foreign food eateries on the ground level.

It was also observed that while pitch stall operators/hawkers were doing their
transactions at the stalls, at least 5 pitch stalls at Graham Street including Chiu Kee
had storehouses (the ground floor of the building behind the stalls) to back up their
operations.

Shoppers of the Graham Street Market included women and men, elderly and young,
housewives, chefs and Filipinos/Indonesian maids. Many of these shoppers seemed
to be frequent shoppers.

It was seen during the second visit at lunch hour that there were also office workers
buying fruits and flowers at the street market.

Some of the stall operators/hawkers were elderly but there were also middle aged
ones. The pitch stall operators/hawkers seemed friendly towards each other and to the

53

shoppers. When they were not so busy, as in the case of the first visit, they chatted
with the passers-by on trivial daily events.

The street market was also a popular tourist spot. During the visits, there were about
20 30 tourists, mainly westerners but there were also Japanese. The stalls operators
did not show being offended when these tourists taking photos of them or their stalls.
On the first visit, a fruit stall operator even took the initiative to help two Japanese
girls taking photos with them at his stall. In return, he gained business although it was
only for a few dollars.

4.3.2

Interviews with a Pitch Stall Owner and an Ex-resident

4.3.2.1 Interview with a Pitch Stall Owner


After several attempts, the author eventually succeeded in making an interview with a
pitch stall owner. He was Mr Ng Chiu () of Chiu Kee (),2 Chiu Kee is
a large pitch stall selling various kinds of vegetables. On the day of the visit and the
interview, the stall was very busy. Ng Chius son who was so busy taking telephone
order that he directed the author to Ng Chiu, who was guarding the delivery truck
parked at Hollywood Road to ensure that it would not get a ticket. During the
process of the interview, at least 5 Kai Fong () passed by and greeted Ng Chiu.

Ng Chiu revealed that he is 78 years old and was originated from Guangdong Xin Hui
(). He started selling vegetables in Graham Street in 1968 and has retired
for about 3 years. The operation of the pitch stall is now mainly in the hands of his
sons and daughters-in-law. The unit behind his stall with a big signage (Plate
2

Mr Ng Chiu refused the authors request to tape the interview. He also did not want to take any
photo of him claiming that he was not good to look at.

54

4.1 refers) was rented and was used as a store and an office while he and his family
lived in Peel Street.
Plat 4.1: Hawker Pitch Stall Chiu Kee with a
Storehouse at the Back
(Photo taken by author on 30 December 2006)

Plate 4.2: Variety of Vegetables Displayed at Chiu Kee


(Photo taken by author on 30 December 2006)

55

Ng Chiu commented that running a vegetable stall was a hard job, with long working
hours and no entertainment at all.

He recalled that in the past there were many housewives and Chinese domestic
helpers () patronizing his stall but now majority of these shoppers were replaced
by foreign domestic helpers. Since he sells vegetables instead of fruits or flowers, he
did not have many office worker customers. After all retail business was no longer
his main source of income. The main source now comes from business with the
caterers for office workers () and from nearby restaurants.

Ng Chiu mentioned that loyal shoppers had become less and less and many of his old
customers had either migrated or moved out of the Central District.

Ng Chiu could not remember any special event happened in Graham Street. He could
not name anything that was worth mentioning nor could he tell the difference between
the streetscape of Graham Street in the past and present.

He said that there were many tourists visiting Graham Street in the past as in present.
He was accustomed to their visits and photo-taking and he did not find them annoying.

Ng Chiu did not seem to be much concerned about the redevelopment of Graham
Street/Peel Street. He thought that redevelopment was inevitable and although he and
his family had been living in Central District for many years, he would follow his
sons if they decided to move out.
4.3.2.2 Interview with an Ex-resident
56

Mrs Linda Yee is a close friend of the author, aged 48. She had been living in
Graham Street since she was very small in an apartment owned by her mother (sold in
1990) but left Hong Kong for San Francisco in 1979. She, however, came to Hong
Kong from time to time to visit friends and relatives. The most recent visit was made
in October 2006.

Mrs Yees family used to own a store selling drinks, cigarettes and canned foods. The
store was very close to Graham Street, at the junction of Wellington Street and
Gutzlaff Street. It was however closed in 1990 when Mrs Yees mother decided to
join Mrs Yee in San Francisco.

Mrs. Yee recalled that Graham Street was very busy, very slippery and dirty. Very
often, to avoid the crowd and the hazard of slipping, she took a longer route up to
Hollywood Road then via Lyndhurst Street and Gutzlaff Street to go to her familys
store. This streets dirty and slippery impression was indeed deep-rooted in Mrs
Yees mind as she reiterated twice of her experience of seeing a big rat when she
visited Hong Kong in 1990 to help her mother wind up the store business and sell the
apartment at Graham Street.

Mrs Yee recalled that in the past her brother and she always took turns to help the
family run the store after school. To get as much business as possible, the store
operation hours could be as early as nine oclock in the morning and as late as eleven
oclock at night.
Mrs Yee also remembered that the relationship with the neighbouring hawkers was
amiable. Her mother used to purchase food from the hawkers and Mrs Yee and her
57

family always let the hawkers use washroom facility at the store. Friendship with the
children of the hawkers had also developed as she and her brother used to play with
the kids after work. Although many of the hawkers that she and her family used to
acquaint had moved away, she could still see a few familiar faces during her recent
visit in October 2006.

Mrs Yee recalled that Queen Elizabeth II also visited Graham Street Market in 1975.
During the Queens visit, she was at school but she remembered vividly that in
preparation of the Visit, there was a big clean-up at Graham Street ().

She mentioned that even in the past, there were tourists visiting the Graham Street
Market but as she was still young then, she was scared to make conversation with
them.

Mrs Yee commented that the street trading activities in Graham Street was similar to
the Farmers Market in the district where she was now living. However, unlike the
Graham Street Market, the Farmers Market there was not situated in a residential
district and was only operated on an ad hoc basis.

Mrs Yee could not tell whether there was any landmark in the Graham Street Market.
However she thought that Wing Woo Grocery located at the junction of Wellington
Street and Graham Street was rather unique. Whilst she felt sorry when the owner of
Wing Woo Grocery told her during her recent visit that the Graham Street/Peel Street
Redevelopment Project would commence soon and that he would then close his

58

business, she was anxious to see the new face of Graham Street Market, a place where
she had been living for many years.

4.3.3 Interview with URA


A contact in URA who was involved in the Redevelopment Project of Graham
Street/Peel Street (URA H18 project) but would like to stay anonymous was
interviewed. Prior to the interview, the interviewee has directed the author to look for
details in the URAs Development Scheme at Peel Street/Graham Street Master
Layout Plan which was submitted to the Town Planning Board (A/H3/375) and was
available for public viewing at the enquiry counter of the Planning Department. The
following findings were gathered from the interview and from the information
obtained from the Master Layout Plan as well as the associated public opinions of the
Master Layout Plan.

The interviewee informed that normally for a URA project, a social impact
assessment would have been carried out before the project was commenced. In the
Graham Street/Peel Street Redevelopment Project, URA commissioned Dr C K Law
and associates from the University of Hong Kong Department of Social Works and
Social Administration to carry out a community aspiration survey in 2005.3

The initial design concept was then drawn, followed by a series of consultations with
the Central and Western District Council (CWDC), stakeholders and the public.
Table 4.2 was extracted from URAs Development Scheme at Peel Street/Graham
Street Master Layout Plan Submission to the Town Planning Board.
3

Despite the request made by the author, as the survey cannot be disclosed to the public, the
methodology used and the findings of it are not known.

59

Table 4.2: Chronology of the Public Consultation Exercise Made by URA on


Redevelopment Project of Graham Street/Peel Street
Time

Action Taken

2005

A study on the community aspiration with respect to the URA


Shueng Wan action area covering three core areas, namely
Staunton Street/Wing Lee Street (H19), Graham Street/Peel Street
(H18), and the Man Mo Arts Terrace/Cat Street, was conducted by
Dr C K Law and the research team of the University of Hong Kong
(HKU).
A Master Thinking study on the URA Shueng Wan action area on
the 4Rs revitalization strategy was commissioned.

19 Jan 2006

The CWDC was informed of the draft design of the proposed


development.

Feb 2006

The design concepts of the proposed development have made


reference to the study conducted by the HKU Centre of Urban
Planning and Environmental Management (CUPEM) under the
auspices of the CWDC on the Sustainable Development of Central
and Western District.

1223 Jun 2006

A public exhibition on the design concept of the project was


organized by URA.

23 Jun 2006

A community Participation Workshop was jointly organized by


CWDC and the URA District Advisory Committee to solicit views of
various stakeholders and the general public regarding the
proposed development.

12 Jun Jul 2006

A survey was conducted by the HKU to collect views expressed


during the exhibition and the workshop to facilitate URA in
finalizing the design of the proposed development. A report on the
said consultation exercise was finalized in July 2006.

5 Oct 2006

The CWDC endorsed the Planning Brief of the proposed


development which had taken into account the views of the
community and the CWDC

Jan 2007

The Heritage & Conservation Advisory Panel under the auspicious


of the CWD Advisory Committee of the URA was formed to
consider conservation issues within the proposed development.

During the public consultation process, public opinions were considered and the
initial design plans modified several times to meet the aspirations of the public.

60

The interviewee emphasized that hawking activities in the site did not fall within the
redevelopment project. However as these activities had long been part of the local
community and was a unique local character, revitalization measures are
recommended to upgrade the distinctive street market character. 4 The interviewee
indicated that in this respect, the redevelopment project will only aim at improving the
streetscape and the facilities for the hawkers. For example, water and electricity
would be provided. When the redevelopment project is being implemented, the
tenement buildings will be demolished. Owing to the adverse environment then
which will be unfavourable to the business operation of the hawkers, their pitch stalls
will be temporarily relocated. The stall owners have been approached by Food and
Environment Hygiene Department (FEHD) for relocation to nearby streets which is
mutually acceptable to both parties. Once the streetscape improvement project has
been completed, the pitch stall owners can move back to the original site although it is
envisaged that some may continue to operate at the relocated site if their business
there are better than that in the original sites.

4.3.4 Interview with a Social Welfare Concern Organization


Mr Ng Sze On, Team Leader of the Urban Renewal and Social Service Team of the St
James Settlement, indicated that the project of acquiring stories of the old Kai Fong
was instigated by the soon-to-commence Graham Street/Peel Street Redevelopment
Project. The purpose of the exercise was to explore the difficulties and worries of the
residents living in the Redevelopment Area and their experience, values and feelings
of the past.

Please also refer to 3.3 Comprehensive Revitalization Proposal through URAs 4Rs Strategy of the
Master Layout Plan of Town Planning Board A/H3/375 documents available for pubic viewing at
the enquiry counter of the Planning Department.

61

Mr Ng said that the project was carried out in Summer 2006 with the help of a
university social work student. It was an exercise rather than a formal scientific
research. However, hawkers in the area were not their main target as not many of
them were local residents.

There were about 10 residents responding to the project. Mr Ng said that these
residents had not told stories of any particular or important events or people. Rather,
they expressed their sentimental feelings when they talked about the neigbourhood
relationship, the social networking, the daily lives in the past and their experience in
bringing up their children.

In regard to the general opinion of the residents to the Redevelopment Project of


Graham Street/Peel Street, Mr Ng commented that as the Project had been talked
about for 10 years, residents became indifferent to it. Certainly there were residents
who wanted to have the relocation compensation to be settled as soon as possible so
that they could move to a better living environment. However, there were also
residents, especially the elderly who were reluctant to move out from a place where
they have been living for many years. Mr Ng also argued that the redevelopment
would not be a big issue to the hawkers since they were not residents of Graham
Street and could still make a living elsewhere.

4.3.5

Meeting with the Central and Western District Councilor, Mr Chan Kit Kwai

Councilor Chan opined that the Graham Street Market was situated in a very good
location which contributed to its economical sustainability.

It is a convenient
62

shopping place for different groups of the community. For example, the middle class
and expatriates live in the Mid-Levels, the old Kai Fongs living in the vicinity and
people working in Central.

Councilor Chan also indicated that the century-old trading mode found at Wing Woo
Grocery, where products like rice or wine were not pre-packed like those sold in the
supermarkets, but were sold at the weight requested by the shoppers, was still
accepted by the local community, otherwise Wing Woo Grocery would not have been
sustained until now. The Graham Street Market represented the Chinese tradition and
formed a collective memory of many Hong Kong people.

Councilor Chan did not know what the CWDC had done to seek public opinions on
the value of Graham Street Market or the URAs Graham Street/Peel Street
Development Project. However, he understood that individual councilors had taken
efforts in listening to residents by paying visit to the site. In fact, he had once
accompanied Councilor Kam Nai Wai to visit Wing Woo Grocery and had a chat with
the shop owner Mr Kwan. Councilor Kam was grown up in Central and was familiar
with Mr Kwans son. He had a lot of memories in Central District.

Councilor Chan opined that there were many channels to solicit pubic opinions on
social value, like via questionnaire, holding discussion meetings with residents or
arrange for stakeholders to meet with the relevant authority or government bodies
such as URA, Leisure and Culture Services Department and the FEHD. To Councilor
Chan, he would also pay attention to residents responses to media interviews.

63

Although Councilor Chan could not identify the criteria for assessing social value, he
thought that the term collective memory was being used too blindly. To him,
collective memory should be related to historical events and important people.

Councilor Chan also thought that the local community of Graham Street/Peel Street
did not quite understand the meanings of heritage values. To them, the area was
where they had spent their daily lives. Certainly many residents were eager for the
redevelopment to commence as soon as possible so that their living conditions could
be improved. Many hawkers would also prefer to give up the licence in exchange for
the cash compensation. However, when heritage conservation became a hot talk of
the town and after the Graham Street Market had received wide media attention, the
heritage concept was brewed up among the local people who began to take pride of
their community.

For the redevelopment plan of Graham Street/Peel Street, Councilor Chan was
pleased to see that the street market could be retained. He also supported the Old
Shop Street concept as Chinese tradition and local characteristics could then be
preserved.

4.3.6

Focus Group Meeting

64

Prior to the holding of the focus group meeting, members were informed of the
purpose. They were also asked to express their opinions freely on the following three
questions:
i)

What is social value?

ii)

Who are involved in the assessment of social significance?

iii)

How to assess social significance?

Members of the focus group were also told that no preparation or reference to relevant
documents on social value was necessary.

During the meeting, the authors role was a facilitator.

She did not give any

comments or criticism to the opinions of the focus group.

On social value, the following are opinions of the focus group:


i)

Social value is generated from daily lives, it can be a representation over a

period of time, or a sentimental feeling. It can also be an interaction with each other
in a community and this interaction can generate further interaction, feelings,
associations and meanings.
ii)

Social value is about a social bond within a community.

People in this

community might not have any bloodline relationship or are not even friends.
However, once this bond disappears, there would be a sense of loss.
iii)

Social value is associate with collective memory.

iv)

Social value is connected to a landmark or a public event.

65

In deciding who should be involved in the assessment of social significance, the focus
group felt that that the stakeholders should be identified first. Depending on what the
issue was, the stakeholders could be Hong Kong people in their entirety, or the local
community being affected.

On the criteria of assessing social significance, members of the focus group were of
the opinion that it would be difficult to identify the criteria as social value is abstract
and non-quantifiable. One member expressed that as social value was subjective and
could be interpreted differently by different groups of people, it had to be taken with
care orelse it would become very political. Another member suggested that to draw
social significance, different stakeholder groups could be approached to collect their
memories, impression and opinions. These memories, impressions and opinions
should then be summarized in order to derive a mutually agreed statement of
significance.

66

Bibliography and Reference


English Publications
Town Planning Board A/H3/375 documents available for pubic viewing at the
enquiry counter of the Planning Department
Yung, Judy. Unbound Voices: A Documentary History of Chinese Women in San
Francisco, Appendix: Giving Voice to Chinese American Women Oral
History Methodology, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.

Chinese Publications
2006 8 13 , A16

Internet Publications
Central and Western District Council. Chairman's Welcome Message by Mr. CHAN
Tak-chor MH
Viewed at: http://www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/central/english/welcome.htm 30 April
2007.
______. Minutes of the 15th and 19th Meeting, held on 19 Jan 2006 and 5 October
2006 respectively.
Viewed at: http://www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/central/chinese/welcome.htm, on 9
September 2006 and 5 January 2007 respectively.
Urban Renewal Authority. URA Peel Street/Graham Street Redevelopment
Project. Press Information on 26 January 2007.
Viewed at: http://www.ura.org.hk/html/c1002071e210e.html on 30 April 2007.

67

Chapter 5
Analysis of Findings and Proposal of
a Social Significance Assessment Framework

5.1

Analysis of Findings

From the findings made in Chapter 4, the following points are observed:

5.1.1

Low Awareness of Heritage Values

The interview with Ng Chiu revealed that he saw little significance in the Graham
Street Market and could not name anything that was worth remembering. To him, the
Graham Street Market was just the place where he had been working for almost 40
years. He showed an indifferent attitude to the redevelopment and thought that it was
inevitable. It is believed that the indifferent attitude of Ng Chiu is not unique, as
reflected in the low response rate from the hawker sector during the public
consultation given by the Town Planning Board on the Redevelopment Project of the
Graham Street/Peel Street.1 There might also be some truth when Councilor Chan
said that some hawkers would prefer to give up their licence in exchange of the
redevelopment compensation rather than to continue their operation in the street
market.

From the interview with Mrs Yee, although she has emigrated to the States and is now
an outsider, she still has emotional attachments to Graham Street and has been visiting
the place from time to time.

However, the dirty, slippery and poor hygienic

conditions of the street still linger in her mind. This deep-rooted impression of Mrs
Yee explains the behaviour of the current residents living inside the area. As

As indicated in the Town Planning Board A/H3/375 documents available for pubic viewing at the
enquiry counter of the Planning Department, there was almost no submission of opinion from
hawkers or stall owners.

68

Councilor Chan has pointed out during the interview and as the press has reported,2
due to the dilapidated conditions of many buildings and the poor living environment
within the redevelopment site, the residents asked for the redevelopment to be
implemented as soon as possible. It is therefore not surprising to see that almost all
residents support the Redevelopment Project of Graham Street/Peel Street during the
public consultation period. 3 They expressed little emotional attachments in their
responses to the Town Planning Board. In fact, it is rather a strange discovery that
while the hawkers and residents working/living inside the site showed little emotion
on the heritage value of the area, those who live outside the site, such as the
expatriates and middle-class living in the Mid-levels, and the concern groups, protest
strongly against the Redevelopment Project. They opine that the open market of
Graham Street is full of local character and is an important tourist spot.

Once

demolished, this local character will disappear and there will be a sense of loss.

The following is quoted from an email of a member of the Central and Western
District Concern Group to the Town Planning Board on 31 March 2007:4

A heritage assessment has not been carried out for the project site. The wet
2

Examples of the Press Reports are as follows:


2007 4 20 A19
2007 4 20 A34
2007 3 30 A07
3
From the 182 public opinions received by the Town Planning Board during the public consultation
period, 75 supported the Redevelopment Project. Most of them are from the residents. Those who
objected the Redevelopment Project were mainly from the expatriates/middle class and the concern
groups. (Town Planning Board Project Document A/H375, available for pubic viewing at the
enquiry counter of the Planning Department),
4
Full content of the email can be seen from Town Planning Board Document A/H3/375 available for
public viewing at the enquiry counter of the Planning Department.

69

market itself, which will unfortunately be removed due to the redevelopment,


is in fact one of the most important tourist spots in this part of the territory. It
is the oldest open-air street market with important heritage value. I cannot
accept the fact that not a single heritage assessment by qualified independent
professionals has been carried out for this significant heritage area. The
application should not be considered/approved until heritage, including
collective memory, has been fully investigated and made available for public
comment. The Antiquities Advisory Board should be requested to overlook
this assessment.

Why is a social impact assessment not carried out for a project of such scales?
The impact on the existing social network, the community of hawkers,
businesses and local residents in the immediate area and the environs have to
be carefully assessed and presented for public comments before the
application could be considered.

While some of the above accusations may not be true, it does indicates clearly that the
outsiders are more concerned with the social value than the insiders. It also
reflects that at the community level, people do not have a strong motive or the
awareness to appreciate their heritage place. To many of them, the Market is only a
place where they make their living and spend their daily lives. Should the voice of
the insiders or the outsiders be listened? On this issue, Byrne, Brayshaw and
Ireland5 point out that appreciation of heritage places is not something people are born
with but something acquired. Therefore, reasonable intervention to enable the public

Byrne, Denis, Helen Brayshaw and Tracy Ireland. Social Significance: A Discussion Paper.
Hurstville: Research Unit, Heritage Division, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2nd ed, June
2003:62.

70

to acquire the necessary skills is justifiable. Johnston6 shares similar view. She also
argues that in order to allow the community to learn more about their heritage place,
the community needs to be given opportunities to discover and participate in the
heritage assessment process.

5.1.2 Limited Understanding of Social Value and Social Significance Assessment


From responses of the representatives of different organizations interviewed in this
study, it seems that the main concern is focused on the Redevelopment Project of
Graham Street/Peel Street and the influence on the residents living inside the site.
There were not many comments on the social value nor the criteria on assessing the
social significance of this heritage place. St James Settlement clearly indicated that
what they had done was only an exercise, not a scientific research. Councilor Chan
named some of the channels on acquiring social value but apparently little had been
done for the site. URA had made great efforts in facilitating community participation
in the form of survey, exhibitions and workshops. However their main focus was
only on the Redevelopment Design Plan. Having said that, it is not suggested that
community participation during the design process is not important. In fact, it is very
important as the redevelopment plan will affect the future livelihood of the
community.

However, a systematic approach in the understanding of Graham

Street/Peel Street prior to the commencement of the initial design plan seems to be
lacking. Furthermore, URAs focus was on the buildings inside the Redevelopment
site as they emphasized that hawking activities were not under their scope of
responsibilities and were therefore not in the initial design plan of the Redevelopment
6

Johnston, Chris.
Whose View Count?: Achieving Community Support for Landscape
Conservation. Historic Environment, 7(2):36.

71

Project. It was probably only due to public criticism and the pressure of the CWDC7
that revitalization measures were recommended to upgrade the distinctive street
market character.8

URA had indicated that a social impact assessment, that is, the community aspiration
survey carried out by the University of Hong Kong in 2005, was done before
proposing the initial design of Graham Street/Peel Street. However, as the survey was
not publicly revealed, little was known as to its methodology, sampling, areas of
assessment and results. Reference can therefore only be drawn to the URAs general
guideline on how to carry out the detailed social impact assessment. In the guideline,
it is stated that the main elements should include:
(a) the population characteristics of the residents affected by the proposed project;
(b) the socio-economic characteristics of the affected residents;
(c) the rehousing needs of the affected residents;
(d) the housing preferences of the affected residents;
(e) the employment status of the affected residents;
(f)

the place of work of the affected residents;

(g) the social networks of the affected residents;


(h) the educational needs of the children of the affected families;
(i)

the special needs of the elderly;

Central and Western District Council, Minutes of the 15th Meeting held on 19 Jan
2006.
Viewed at http://www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/central/chinese/welcome.htm, on 9
September 2006.
Please also refer to 3.3 Comprehensive Revitalization Proposal through URAs 4Rs Strategy of the
Master Layout Plan submitted to Town Planning Board.

72

(j)

the special needs of the disabled;

(k) the special needs of single-parent families, particularly those with small children
(l)

a detailed assessment of the potential social impact of the proposed project; and

(m) a detailed assessment of the mitigation measures required.

This guideline does not seem to provide any criteria for assessing the social
significance of a place.

The lack of a systematic approach in understanding the social value and on how to
assess social significance is totally understandable. As indicated from the responses
of the focus group of current and ex-students of ACP, the intangible concept of social
value is difficult to grasp. Similarly, social significance is also unquantifiable and
difficult to assess. Hence, assessment of social significance in Hong Kong, as in
many other countries as well, has not been rigorous. In fact, in many parts of the
world, only little information on the methodology is provided and claims for social
significance made in the conservation plans.9

Byrne, Denis, Helen Brayshaw and Tracy Ireland. Social Significance: A Discussion Paper.
Hurstville: Research Unit, Heritage Division, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2nd ed, June
2003:14.

73

5.2

Social Significance Assessment Framework

5.2.1 Background of the Proposed Social Significance Assessment Framework


As indicated in Chapter one, the theoretical basis of this study is adopted from
Johnstons concept in her book What is Social Value? 10 To revisit Johnstons
viewpoints, social value refers to the contemporary sense of a place which includes
local identity and the social and cultural aspects which make the heritage site a special
area, landmark and icon in the community.

Those key words as community

consultation, community esteem, contemporary sense of the place, local identity,


landmark and icons, iconic status and symbolic meanings of the place become the
focal criteria in the social significance assessment as introduced by Johnston.

Johnston has prepared many social significance assessments; one of which is for The
Rocks Heritage Management Plan.11 The Rocks in Sydney, Australia is a national
heritage site of much larger size than the Graham Street Market. However, both the
Rocks and Graham Street Market share similar characteristics. For instance, both
have long history, the Rocks as the first development area of the Europeans in
Australia and Graham Street as one of the early streets after the British has taken over
Hong Kong; both have an open market and both are tourist place with a living
community linked to the past.

10

Johnston, Christ. What Is Social Value? Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.
1994:21 22.
11
For details, please refer to Godden Mackay Logan, commissioned by Sydney Harbour Foreshore
Authority. Section 2.7 Contemporary Community Esteem Background Paper of The Rocks
Heritage Management Plan Background Papers Volume 2, June 2001:230 284.
Viewed at http:// ww.shfa.nsw.gov.au on 15 June 2006.

74

The sequence of social significance assessment depicted in Figure 5.1 is largely


derived from her concepts:

5.2.2

Sequence of Social Significance Assessment

Since this research study focuses mainly on the what and how, and that relevant
data of a heritage place should be obtained before the implementation of the
conservation plan so as to get a better understanding of the social value, only Phase 2
of Figure 5.1 will be discussed.
Figure 5.1: Social Significance Assessment Framework
Phase 1
Desktop Research for data of the heritage place
To ascertain history of the place, events or people
connecting to the heritage place

Phase 2
Planning and Implementation of Social Significance
Assessment
i)
ii)
iii)
iv)

identify groups and communities with associations to


the place
establish the assessment criteria
establish the methods use
implement the assessment to each associated groups

Phase 3
Development of Statement of Social Significance

Phase 4
Policy and Strategies for Conserving Social Value

75

5.2.3

Planning and Implementation of Social Significance Assessment

i)

To identify groups and communities with associations to the place

To enable people to express their values and attachment to a place, community


participation is very important. The word community refers to a group of people
living in the same locality, which can be geographically, politically, professionally
and/or socially.

People of the same community have direct experience and

knowledge of the place and so their participation can offer a direction for the
identification, clarification and advocacy of their own positions and values.12
ii)

To establish the methods use

In obtaining relevant data, Johnston has suggested the following methods:13


a) Observation
Observation of the ways in which people use a place to provide a basis for
identifying places that may have special meaning.
b) Questioning
Direct questioning of a community to identify the places considered by
individuals and/or groups of people to be of special value and the nature and
degree of significance. This approach can be used to build up a picture of
community values and meaning before seeking direct information on socially
valued places.
c) Mapping
Documenting each individuals mental map would enable those places widely
shared within a community to be identified.

12

Johnston, Chris. What Is Social Value? Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.
1994:4.
13
Ibid:21 -22.

76

d) Feedback
Refinements on observation techniques would involve feedback to the
community through drama, visual media or text to clarify and seek further
response on meanings discerned through observation of peoples use of
particular places.
e) Oral history and story telling
Recording the history of individuals, and possibly of small groups, may reveal
important places, and would certainly have value in triggering memories of
places that could then be further considered in terms of their contemporary
social value.
f) Models
Some methods aim to develop a model of community preferences or
viewpoints which expert can then apply to other situations.
g) Community Aspirations
Some methods aim to explore individuals aspirations and through a collective
process draw from that some sense of community aspirations.
iii)

To establish the assessment criteria

The following checklist as used by Johnston14 will guide the analysis of the social
significance data and presentation of statement of social significance:
a) Community Esteem
Items that are esteemed or highly valued by the community for their cultural
values. This would include places representing any cultural value held in high
esteem by the community.
14

Godden Mackay Logan, commissioned by Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. Section 2.7
Contemporary Community Esteem Background Paper of The Rocks Heritage Management Plan
Background Papers Volume 2, June 2001:230 284.

77

b) Sense of loss
Items which if damaged or destroyed would cause the community a sense of
loss.
c) Community Identify
Items which contribute to a communitys sense of identity. These would
include:
Importance to a community as a landmark, marker or signature
Specific significance indicators;
Landmark
Signature places and icons places used to symbolically represent a locality
or community;
Locational markers places that mark where you are in a landscape/locality
and places that are figured as landmarks in daily life; and
Understanding of history and environment special and unusual features
that help explain the local environment in all its diversity
Importance as a reference point in a communitys identity or sense of itself
Special significance indicators:
Strong symbolic qualities which define a community;
Spiritual or traditional connection between the past and present;
Represents (embodies) important collective (community) meanings;
Symbolically represents the past in the present (connect the past and the
present); and
Represents attitudes, beliefs and behaviours fundamental to community
identity.

78

Strong or special community attachment developed from use and/or


association
Special significance indicators
Essential community function leading to special attachment; and
Longevity of use or association including continuity to the present.
iv)

To implement the assessment to each associated group

The checklist as described in the assessment criteria will guide in the formulation of
questions on social significance from each associated group of the community.
Furthermore questions to find out why each group values the heritage place and who
they believe share their values should be asked as the relative importance, the relative
strength and the length of association of the social value to the identified community
will become the threshold in assessing social value and in reaching the statement of
social significance.

5.2.4

Application of the of Social Value Assessment Framework to the Graham

Street Case Study


The framework as described in the section above can be applied in the Graham Street
Market Case Study. It is assumed that Phase one as depicted in Figure 5.1 has been
completed and that there are no financial, human and time constraints for carrying out
the process.
i)

To identify groups and communities with association to the place


a) Residents living inside the site (bounded by Queens Road Central in the
North, Hollywood Road in the South, Cochrane Street in the east and Peel
Street in the West)
b) Residents living in Central and Mid-Levels
c) Hawkers, shop operators working within the site.
79

d) Shoppers patronizing the Graham Street Market


e) Social welfare groups, Central and Western District Councilors and
concerned groups
f) Other Hong Kong people in general
ii)

To establish the method use


a) Observation
To visit Graham Street Market and, if possible, together with an informant to
gain a full understanding of its significance and to observe the ways in which
people use a place to provide a basis for identifying features that may have
special meaning.
b) Questionnaire
Based on the assessment criteria, to develop questionnaires to obtain
information from various identified groups and communities. Booths can be
set up at an appropriate location in the site to encourage prospects to give
feedback to the questionnaires.
c) Workshops
To hold two to three workshops with residents, hawkers and shop operators so
that they can express their views on the social significance of Graham Street
Market and their aspirations of the place.
d) Focus Groups
To hold focus groups (for example, with District Councilors, concern groups
and heritage practitioners) to enable them to express their views.
e) Oral History
The main target is the hawkers and residents living inside the site to establish
longevity of association.

80

iii)

To establish the assessment criteria

Following Johnstons checklist of the 3 main assessment criteria, namely Community


Esteem, Sense of Loss and Community Identity, the following 3 sets of questions are
suggested. These questions may form the basis for the design of questionnaires or for
getting feedback in workshops or in focus group meetings of the local community of
Graham Street Market.15

Questions Related to Community Esteem


(The overall design of this set of questions is to find out whether the community values the
Graham Street Market, what the community values and how much the community values.)

Is the Graham Street Market important to you? Why?


(If the answer is Yes, the questions that follow should be continued. However if the
answer is No, there is still a need to find out the reason in order to see whether the
respondent is not interested in giving feedback or whether he/she really finds nothing
important.)

What things that are important to you?


(This is the follow up question of Question 1. The purpose of this question is to find out
the items that are valued by the respondent.)

Is the Graham Street Market any different from other places in Hong
Kong? If so, what are the differences?
(If the respondent gives a lengthy description of the differences, it may imply that the
respondent cares about the Graham Street Market and is proud of its uniqueness.)

What things about Graham Street Market are special to you?


(Another question for probing feedback from respondent to find out what and how much
he/she values.)

15

The explanatory notes of why each of the questions is suggested are given after the questions in
italics and inside the bracket.

81

Do you remember or have you heard about any important events that have
taken place in the community? How do you feel about these events?

Do you remember or have you heard of any important people living,


working or visiting the Graham Street Market? How do you feel about
these people?
(Question 5 and Question 6 should be asked one after another.

An item that the

respondent feel highly esteemed (or shame of) may be a historical event or a person that
they have encountered in the past or heard of.)

Questions Related to Sense of Loss


(The purpose of this set of questions is simply to find out if the respondent has a sense of loss.
Things that the respondent misses will indicate that the respondent value them.

If the Graham Street Market is to be demolished, how will you feel?


(This question should be asked without any hint to the respondent that he/she must feel
sorry for the demolition.)

What are things that you miss most?


(This question should only be asked if the respondent regrets about the demolition in
Question 1.)

Questions Related to Community Identity


(The main purpose of this set of questions is to find out if there are any landmarks, signature
places and locational markers in the mind of the respondent; whether the respondent has the
sense of the communitys identity and whether there is any special attachment developed from
the use of or association with the Graham Street Market.)

What are the things that represent the community of Graham Street
Market?

Are there any special or unusual features that can help to explain the local
environment of Graham Street Market?
(The design of Questions1 and 2 is to probe feedback to find out if there is any landmark,
signature place or locational marker in Graham Street Market.)

82

Do you know how long the Graham Street Market has existed in this
location?

Do you remember which shops/pitch stalls have been in the Graham


Street Market for a long time?

What are the things that you can associate with the Graham Street Market,
what image comes to your mind?
(The design of Question 3 to 5 is to probe feedback to find out if there is any linkage
between the past and present, any longevity of use of any shops or pitch stall (that is, the
essential community function) and mental mapping or association of things in Graham
Street Market. The answers will be indicators of the communitys identity and the sense
of itself.)

iv)

To implement the assessment to each associated group

The limited questions developed above aim to cover the essential areas for the
assessment of social values of the Graham Street Market. They are suggestions only
which should be further modified, refined and expanded to suit various environments
and different target groups identified. Besides one who probes for feedback from
individuals of the identified group should look for opportunities to follow up on
unexpected turns in the conversations that might lead to new information and insights
from them. Therefore, feedbacks gathered from various groups should be carefully
analyzed to find out if there are commonalities for the development of the statement
of significance.

83

5.3

Conclusion

Despite the statement from Mr Michael Suen, the then Secretary for Housing,
Planning and Lands, that the Government should adopt a rational and practical
approach to strive for the best interests of the community in the conservation of built
heritage in districts with cultural and economic characteristics,16 and that a political
chairperson urged the concerted efforts from both the government and
conservationists to rationally work out what, why and how to conserve, 17 not a
concrete assessment plan has so far been suggested.

The assessment is more

complicated when social value becomes the focus of the whole issue. In view of the
lack of any systematic approach, the methodology framework described in this
Chapter, derived largely from Johnston, albeit overly simplified, will be a good
starting point. Further thinking and modification, however, are required to meet the
needs of local environment in each case of social significance assessment.

It is noted that the range of tasks to be undertaken will be very wide and a rich
collection of material is required for the analysis of social value. As such, resources
and time involved will be immense. Decision makers will therefore be required to
make appropriate judgment on how to make use of the limited resources.

16

IS Department. Speech by Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands on Legco motion on
Retaining and Supporting the Development of Commercial Districts and Bazaars with Local
Characteristics. Press Release, HKSAR Government, 17 January 2007.
17
Ip, Regina. Choosing the Citys Heritage. South China Morning Post, 1 January 2007:11.

84

Bibliography and Reference


English Publications
Byrne, Denis, Helen Brayshaw and Tracy Ireland. Social Significance: A Discussion
Paper. Hurstville: Research Unit, Heritage Division NSW National Parks and
Wildlife Service, Second Edition, June 2003.
Ip, Regina. Choosing the Citys Heritage. South China Morning Post, 1 January
2007:11.
IS Department. Speech by Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands on Legco
motion on Retaining and Supporting the Development of Commercial
Districts and Bazaars with Local Characteristics Press Release, HKSAR
Government, 17 January 2007.
Johnston, Chris. What Is Social Value? Canberra: Australian Government Publishing
Service. 1994.
______. Whose View Count?: Achieving Community Support for Landscape
Conservation, Historic Environment 7(2), p36.
Town Planning Board A/H3/375 documents on the Redevelopment Project of Graham
Street/Peel Street.
Available for pubic viewing at the enquiry counter of
the Planning Department.

Chinese Publications
200 5 4
D05
2007 4 20 A19
2007 4 20 A34
2007 3 30
A07

85

Internet Publications
Central and Western District Council, Minutes of the 15th Meeting, held on 19 Jan
2006.
Viewed at http://www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/central/chinese/welcome.htm,
on 9 September 2006.
Godden Mackay Logan, commissioned by Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority,
Section 2.7 Contemporary Community Esteem Background Paper of The
Rocks Heritage Management Plan Background Papers Volume 2, June 2001,
Viewed at http:// www.shfa.nsw.gov.au on 15 June 2006.
Terms and Abbreviations of the NSW Heritage Manual
Viewed at http://www.heritage.nsw.gov.au/docs/hm_terms&abbreviations.pdf,
on 28 May 2007.

86

Chapter 6
Conclusions and Limitations

6.1

Inspirations and Enlightenments

This study aims at getting answers on what and how to obtain relevant data of social
value treasured by the community. The street trading activities of the ancient Graham
Street was used as a case study. Although there are a great deal of limitations or
deficiencies in this study, the purpose of the study has in general been achieved.
Furthermore, during the prolonged research process, the author has not only gained
deeper understandings on social value and on how a more systematic approach on
social significance assessment could be done, but has also been inspired and
enlightened with the following new thoughts as well.

6.1.1

The Necessity of a Social Value Assessment Framework

Social value assessment is in general a relatively neglected field not only in Hong
Kong but also in countries like Australia where legislations and the nations
awareness of heritage conservation are much stronger than Hong Kong.

This

phenomenon is due to a lack of accepted methodology and training for people to carry
out the social value assessment.1 However, the public uproar over the demolition of
the Clock Tower of old Star Ferry Pier and the Queens Pier in Hong Kong has
brought out a wider recognition of conservation concepts on intangible heritage. This
agitated emotion in Hong Kong has deeply reflected what Johnston has described in
the following passage 2 and why a mechanism in the social value assessment is
necessary:
1

Byrne, Denis, Helen Brayshaw and Tracy Ireland. Appendix 2, Practitioner Interviews of Social
Significance: A Discussion Paper, 2nd ed, Hurstville: Research Unit, Cultural Heritage Division,
NEW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2003:154.
Johnston, Chris. What Is Social Value? Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.
1994:4.

87

Our deep sense of attachment to place has not been adequately defined by our
current heritage assessment methods. Our attachment to place is fundamental,
but may be unconscious in our daily lives until a place to which we are
connected is threatened. Our response to such a threat will be charged with
emotion, as it is our emotions that are touched by the connection. Lacking the
defined processes and parameters decision makers prefer, and that have
become the basis of heritage assessment, it is no wonder that heritage
professionals can be easily caught off guard by a sudden and unexpected
community uprising in defence of place.

6.1.2

Arguments between Social Value and Collective Memory

As mentioned in Chapter 1, the Graham Street market activities have triggered the
collective memories of many Hong Kong people and the author as well. When that
was written, the author had doubts as to whether the term collective memory should
be used. During the course of this research study, collective memory has become a
heated debate in Hong Kong.

Tremendous discussions were drawn when the

Secretary of Home Affairs announced to launch another series of consultations on


built heritage and, subject to public views, to consider incorporating elements about
collective memory, as appropriate in the built heritage assessment criteria 3 . To
many people, collective memory is too abstract. Even the Secretary of Home Affairs
has pointed this out and realizes that a consensus on the meaning of collective
memory4 is required. A heritage adviser has also pointed out that a mechanism and

IS Department. Government to Launch Consultations on Built Heritage Conservation Policy.


Press Release, Hong Kong SAR Government, 8 January 2007.
Wu, Helen. Experts Seek Definition of Collective Memory. South China Morning Post, 10
January 2007:1.

88

some objective criteria should be outlined to quantify what collective memory


means.5

There is a saying that social value is a more appropriate term6 and that no one will use
collective memory in heritage conservation as it is a terminology derived from
cultural studies.7

A local anthropological professor8 agrees that collective memory is a term derived


from anthropological, cultural and psychological studies. He also indicates that in this
21st Century, when community participation becomes increasingly important, heritage
conservation is no longer the privilege of the elites.

Collective memory is the

memory constructed and shared by a group of people. It is a tool for this group of
people to establish their identity. The base to construct and to conserve collective
memory is very often in association with some tangible concrete items. The function
of these tangibles and the memory established during the process of using these
tangibles then form the cultural icon and the symbolic identity of this group of people.

This viewpoint of the anthropological professor inspires the author a great deal. Are
social value and collective memory referring more or less to the some thing?

5
6

7
8

Ibid.
Lai, Chloe. Planning Board Silent on Queens Pier Plea; Conservationists Say Collective
Memory Is No Bias to Judge a Buildings Worth. South China Morning Post, 12 January 2007:4.
Ibid.
2007 2
7 D4

89

Some Australian heritage practitioners have pointed out that


social significance is a demonstrable or special attachment to a place the
non-professional point of view, or values outside academic values. The
significance was generally seen as contemporary, often intangible without
physical manifestation, and developed through personal experience and
memory. 9

If one agrees that both social value and collective memory are instigated from the
community and not from the heritage professionals; if both terms refer to the
communitys attachment or its sense of the place; and that if the place is damaged or
destroyed, the community will have a sense of loss, then both terms should mean
similar things. Only that the general public uses a more colloquial term collective
memory and heritage professionals use a more academic term social value. Should
more thoughts therefore be given to the argument that heritage professionals should
not only think of taking heritage concepts and methodology, as part of the
equipment to go into a local community to assess the social significance, but rather,
to take the communitys expression of their values into consideration?10

10

For details, please refer to Byrne, Denis, Helen Brayshaw and Tracy Ireland. Appendix 2,
Practitioner Interviews of Social Significance: A discussion Paper. 2nd edition, Hurtville: Research
Unit, Cultural Heritage Division, NEW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2003:153.
Ibid:61.

90

6.1.3

The Inevitability of Heritage Conservation Issue Becoming Involved in Local

Politics
As pointed out in Chapter 5 and as far as those people living and working in Graham
Street are concerned, there is a relatively low awareness of heritage conservation
within the local community. However, as indicated in the recent heated discussions
on heritage conservation in other communities, like the redevelopment project of Lee
Tung Street, the demolishment issues of the Wanchai Market, the Clock Tower of the
Star Ferry Pier and the Queens Pier, the scope of concern on heritage conservation,
including the protection of collective memory, the way of life experienced by Hong
Kong people and certain economic and cultural characteristics, has extended much
wider than before. While it is a positive development and a delight to see increasing
public awareness on the importance of heritage conservation, as in many controversial
issues in Hong Kong, heritage conservation has inevitably become a political issue. It
has been criticized that political parties use heritage conservation issues to stir up the
local community to protest against government policy.11 Political consideration was
also reflected in the Graham Street/Peel Street Redevelopment Project while voices
from the community were much quiet. Despite the fact that affected residents of the
Graham Street/Peel Street Redevelopment Project had requested to speed up the
implementation process and that details of the Project were expected to be finalized in
March 2007, in view of the election of the Chief Executive of HKSAR in March 2007,
URA has deferred making announcement to avoid attacks from political parities.12

11
12

2006 12 30 A07
2007 1 13 A27

91

6. 2

Limitations

Although this study has been undertaken in a prolonged period of time and great
efforts have been given in the research, due to limited resources and time of the author,
there are many limitations and deficiencies in the study.

6.2.1

Insufficient Visits and Time Spent in the Observations

Visits to the Graham Street Market and the time spent there were insufficient.
Although the author has a definite knowledge of the Graham Street Market since she
has been living in the vicinity from childhood to her adolescence, as social value is
contemporary, the impression of the author some twenty years ago may form bias
opinions.

In carrying out research of the street trading activities in Shui Woo Street Market,
Kwun Tong, Smart13 made herself an illegal street hawker for five weeks in February
and March 1984 so that she could understand her subject better by blending in with
the hawker community, observing the marketplace from the inside and be befriended
with the hawkers. However, this is not what the author could afford.

13

Smart, Josephine. The Political Economy on Street Hawkers in Hong Kong. Centre of Asian
Studies, University of Hong Kong 1989:14.

92

6.2.2 Insufficient Representation of the Study


6.2.2.1 Sampling Error and Insufficient Sampling Size
Only one pitch stall owner, one ex-resident, a representative of the social welfare
concern organization, a District Councilor and a member of the URA were
interviewed. They were chosen either because the author knew them through social
connection, or were conveniently available for the interviews.

As the sampling

method is not scientifically correct, the opinions drawn from the interviewees could
only be an indication. They could not be a representation. Furthermore, the focus
group were merely consisted of conservation students while opinions from the
conservation practitioners or professionals was obtained from press reports only.
Readers therefore should be aware of the risk of generalization.

6.2.2.2 Narrow Study Scope


The street market in Central Old Area is an agglomeration of many streets not only
confined to Graham Street but also include Stanley Street, Wellington Street, Gage
Street, Gutzlaff Street, Peel Street and Lyndhurst Terrace. Along these streets, there
are many retail shops selling daily household necessities and these retail shops have
economic and social relationship with the pitch stalls. The shoppers and the residents
of the district should therefore not be ignored. However in order to maintain a
manageable focus in this study, only the fixed pitched stalls along Graham Street were
examined. If a large scale research is to be carried out, the whole setting including the
buildings, all the pitch stalls and the retails shops of the Central Old Area should be
considered.

93

6.2.3

Social Value Is Not a Stand Alone Value

The focus of this study is on social significance assessment and so social value is
singled out for illustration purpose. However it is not the intention of the author to
imply that other values like historic, architectural and aesthetic are unimportant. In
fact, very often social significance is expressed in historical terms and that aesthetic
and landmark qualities are also commonly reflected through social value. Therefore,
when the understanding of the place is to take place, a holistic approach of which all
the cultural values should be assessed.

94

Bibliography and Reference


English Publications
Byrne, Denis, Helen Brayshaw and Tracy Ireland. Social Significance: A Discussion
Paper. 2nd ed. Hurstville: Research Unit, Cultural Heritage Division, NEW
National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2003.
Cheng, Joseph, The Maturing of Our Collective Memory South China Morning
Post, 6 February 2007:13.

Lai, Chloe. Planning Board Silent on Queens Pier Plea; Conservationists Say
Collective Memory Is No Bias to Judge a Buildings Worth. South China
Morning Post, 12 January 2007:4.
Lai, Chloe. The Intangible Must Be Part of Formula; Dai Pai Dong Lead List of
Unique HK Elements People Want Preserved. South China Morning Post, 5
February 2007:1.
Smart, Josephine. The Political Economy on Street Hawkers in Hong Kon. Hong
Kong: Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, 1989.
Wu, Helen. Experts Seek Definition of Collective Memory. South China Morning
Post, 10 January 2007:1.
Chinese Publications
2007 1 13 A27
2007 4 24 19

2007 2 7 D4
2006 12 30 A07

95

2006 12 29 A43

2006 12 28 A07

Internet Publications
IS Department. Government to Launch Consultations on Built Heritage Conservation
Policy. Press Release, Hong Kong SAR Government, 8 January 2007.
Viewed at: http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200701/08/P200701080232.htm on 8
April 2007.

96