Interstitial Hong Kong is a research-based project focusing on Hong Kong’s Sitting-out Areas, a unique public space typology distinguished by their small size and incidence in the interstices of Hong Kong’s physical structure. While the Hong Kong government maintains about 60 ‘parks’, it oversees more than 500 Sitting-out Areas and Rest Gardens that account for a significant proportion of its portfolio of parks, zoos and gardens. The spaces, together with district-level mini-interventions in the public realm, form the smallest features in the city’s formal network of public open space amenities.
Referred to locally as saam kok see hang, or ‘three-cornered shit pit’, most Sitting-out Areas in Hong Kong feature little more program than, eponymously, a place to sit and rest. Sitting-out Areas do not impact the city’s formal structure and are relegated to the scraps of urban space with lesser value: the anomalies, gaps, interstices and mismatches. Nor do these spaces fit into a common typology of public space; they fall distinct from the square, street, and garden. Nevertheless, Sitting-out Areas form a unique type of shared space in the city and function as a synthesis of engineered infrastructure and leisure terrain.