Open-Source Urban Common

Conceptual site drawing

Dai Pai Dong is a type of open-air food stall in that provides cheap local dishes as an important cultural asset of Hong Kong. The numbers of Dai Pai Dong have significantly dropped due to urban renewal plans and tightened hygienic policies, which triggered concerns about their future. Inspired by the resilient, flexible and ephemeral nature of Dai Pai Dong, an open-source design framework is proposed to preserve the beauty of its bottom-up construction technique.

The ‘Open-Source Urban Common’ proposal of a flexible motherboard sub-system along with a series of open-source and component-based plug-ins takes advantage of the know-how of inhabitants and empowers them to design their own interventions that can be plugged in freely into the building framework, transforming and upgrading over time to adapt to urban and environmental changes. It explores a strategy to perpetuate the roles and spirits of Dai Pai Dong, while addressing the necessity for urban redevelopment.

The thesis project envisions to be an urban common that invites citizens to not only share space but also resources, knowledge, ideas and many more. It hopes to unleash the potential of Dai Pai Dong and provides a sustainable alternative to the monolithic redevelopment plans.

The project is situated in Yue Man Square in Kwun Tong, one of the poorest districts in Hong Kong. It is also undergoing the city’s largest redevelopment plan generates a challenging, yet desirable setting for the exploration of a bottom-up and adaptive design. The project has the ambition to gather and empower the grassroots to set up their own businesses, bolstering the social and economic roles… more

Project Name

Open-Source Urban Common: The Future of Dai Pai Dong
Kwun Tong, Hong Kong
Site Area
12,100 square metres
Gross Floor Area
67,760 square metres
Building Height
7 storeys; 29.3 metres
Student Name
Ngan Wing Sze, Gillian
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Master of Architecture
Prof. Tat Lam
Ngan Wing Sze, Gillian