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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Documenting topographic ecologies in Hong Kong: visual methods for hyper-dense and hyper-topographic urban spaces in landscape architecture

Toland, Andrew; Christ, Melissa Cate


This article draws on experiments with techniques of visual documentation and representation in circumstances of topographic intensity in Hong Kong. Centrally, the authors ask: how can approaches to visual representation reveal or reframe assemblages of material and immaterial processes in hyper-dense and hyper-topographic urban landscapes? The shaping and reshaping of the ground are essential parts of the formation of recombinant ecosystems, especially in intensively built-up environments - the constant reconfiguration of materials and spaces continually brings into being new ecological conditions. However, the visualization and representation of these transformations are often absent from the repertoire of techniques used to map and understand urban processes. This article addresses how landscape architecture can continue to develop methods to record, represent, visualize and design recombinant ecosystems in our urban environments. It considers which tools and techniques might provide 'thickened' understandings of hyper-dense, small-scale and intensely topographic urban environments like Hong Kong, with the objective of assisting designers and planners develop new ways to understand and see public space that can address the human and more-than-human nuances of complex urban spaces over time.


architectural representation; Hong Kong Stair Archive; landscape architecture; stair culture; topographic intensity; topology; urbanism

Published in

Visual Communication
2020, Volume: 19, number: 3, article number: 1470357220927060

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Landscape Architecture

    Publication Identifiers


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