ABSTRACT

Mass cultural tourism is an important pillar of the Hong Kong economy, despite contradictions in the cultural identity of the city. Heritage conservation has evolved considerably in Hong Kong over the past 25 years. The 2007–2008 Policy Address by the Chief Executive shifted the emphasis from solely preserving built heritage to revitalising it through adaptive re-use. However, the majority of revitalised heritage products developed to date have made little attempt to provide contextualisation to a broader Hong Kong historical narrative and there is no consistent referencing of Hong Kong’s story. The adaptive re-use of the former Marine Police Headquarters in Tsim Sha Tsui received criticism for emphasising commercialisation over conservation or public communication. Four assumptions about why interpretation is given less prominence as a heritage revitalisation project progresses are to be explored through semi-structured interviews – the constraints of the Hong Kong government as client, the interpretive planning field itself, the nature of the heritage revitalisation field in Hong Kong and commercial pressures on the eventual product.