Interview #48

Book Corner: “風土經濟學:地方創生的21堂風土設計課” by Frank Hung

Paul Chan | Walk In Hong Kong

Written and Images by Written and Images by Paul Chan | Walk In Hong Kong
Translation by Wendy Yiu

A book is like a friend. We understand the world and life, or even observe ourselves through texts, and have a deep realization of oneself that we are not alone. PMQ invites different people from design and culture sectors to recommend a book, so that you can enrich yourselves as book therapy.

Why would you recommend this book?

Paul Chan: The epidemic hits everyone by surprise, and the world will never be the same. We have no choice but to deal with "new norms", one of which is of course the issue of how the tourism industry will develop.

In the past, we tended to believe that the tourism industry makes money as long as we draw tourists in and visit. Tourism development then solely aimed at catching up with the number of tourists, infrastructure building,creating landmarks, and hosting events. We had no idea that tourism could be crushed completely if it relies only on tourists, inducing a domino effect in the time of epidemic.

Let’s get back to the basics of tourism. It is not just for profit, but for visitors to feel the goodness of a place, allowing foreigners to get in touch with the most authentic local life, and to be moved by the people and things here. We need to completely set aside the past objectives of tourism development and to concentrate on the cultural connotation. Let’s rediscover the unique cultural connotation of our place, and integrate creativity and innovation into developing a culture-based tourism.

This is what Taiwan often calls "Placemaking", and friends in Taiwan have practiced it for many years and have progressively developed a methodology. Frank Hung is devoted in design and promotion of local small trips. This book is a record of the past 10 years of his experience.

Basically, "Placemaking" involves a process of re-discovering yourself from a local community's assets, inspiration, and potential, like penetrating into the cultural soil like earthworms, but at the same time you also need to have certain vision like an eagle to showcase the most delicate and wonderful parts of one's life to others.

Nowadays, the term "tourist" often has a negative denotation, but there is a quote in the prefaces of the book by Japanese professor Kiyoshi Miyazaki, addressing the beauty of tourism with the involvement of local people.

Hong Kong has fallen behind way too much in this respect, but no matter how bad the situation is, there is hope only if we persist. And we have no reason to give up, we must learn the methods to catch up. It may be a timely soul searching approach.

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