The effects of the 'model' versus the 'lived'. Compressed urban dwellings as a consequence of spatial planning.
The Social and the Spatial, Urban Models as Morphologies for a ‘Lived’ Approach to Planning






Lived Morphology, Social Futures, Urban Models, Monocentric vs Polycentric, Spatial Planning


How and in what manner has the social been instrumental in formulating planning policies, and does Hong Kong ascribe to any social concept that facilitates its current spatial planning framework? The legacy of the social in planning originally came to fruition within the Chicago School of Social Sciences during the early 1920s. Since then, the understanding of the social and how planning responds to the social has been wide and varied. This paper examines the social’s application in spatial notions in addition to its context within Hong Kong. At its core this argument outlines the consequences of a social notion within planning and the spatial modes of recourse. Issues of scaling are brought into question when addressing planning as well as economic focus, in both the local as well as regional governance levels, which further emphasises the dynamic proxies of social and spatial factors for territorial planning. Having neither of these, the argument then highlights the realities of economic asymmetries in the disempowerment of a local populous through land speculation and housing shortages.

How to Cite

Bruyns, G. (2018). The Social and the Spatial, Urban Models as Morphologies for a ‘Lived’ Approach to Planning. Cubic Journal, 1(1), 52–73.



Author Biography

Gerhard Bruyns, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Dr. ir. Gerhard Bruyns is an architect and urbanist. He is Assistant Professor of Environment and Interior Design, School of Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong. His research deals with the aspects of spatial forms and how this impacts both the formal expression of the city and societal conditions that are compressed into an urban landscape driven by speculation and excess. He has published on design strategies for neoliberal landscapes, exploring what this means for concepts as the 'square foot society' and models of urban dwelling and planning. In 2012 he coedited African Perspectives [South] Africa. City, Society, Space, Literature and Architecture (010 Publishers: Rotterdam) part of the Delft School of Design Publication Series. In 2015 he was co-editor of Issue #16 of Footprint: Delft Architecture Theory Journal entitled: Introduction: Commoning as Differentiated Publicness (2015, Jap Sam Books).


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