MATTHEW HENDLEY, DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY PRESENTS PAPER AT URBAN HISTORY CONFERENCE

Matthew Hendley, Department of History, presented a paper entitled “Transnational Comparative Urban History: Rebuilding Postwar Britain and Hong Kong” at the 8th Biennial Urban History Association Conference at Loyola University, Chicago on October 14, 2016.  This paper is part of a comparative study on the varied success of  multi-story public housing in Britain between 1955-70 and Hong Kong from 1971-1982. Dr. Hendley argued that multi-story public housing became strongly tied to re-enforcing the political legitimacy of both jurisdictions during these periods. Dr. Hendley showed how in both Hong Kong and Britain this form of housing seemed to offer a solution to ending overcrowding and slums and thus fulfilled a critical political demand. He also portrayed how multi-story towers became unacceptable in Britain after 1970 due to safety concerns and poor quality construction. Consequently, after the election of the Conservative Government in 1979, public housing no longer was tied to instilling a sense of political legitimacy for all major political parties in Britain. In contrast, Hong Kong after 1979 remained committed to multi-story public housing due to unceasing migration, high private housing prices and limited space. The Hong Kong government retained its commitment because it viewed such housing as key for retaining the political legitimacy of a non-democratic colonial regime.