The growing influence of knowledge economy, cultural industries, and creative cities has become a global trend. This is evident in Hong Kong, where there has been increasing concerns regarding city branding, creative activities, and the role of art and culture in social development since the turn of the century. Changes in media, art, and culture have to be placed in a broader vision of urban and social transformation and public concern has subsequently solidified in three policy areas:
- Branding Hong Kong as Asia’s world city, with media, culture, and creativity as the key transformative forces regarding the relationships among the market, the state, and cultural workers and citizens.
- Linking Hong Kong with other creative cities to seek future developments and synergies of inter-Asia and transnational cultural circuits in a shifting geo-political context.
- Positioning Hong Kong’s unique cultural identity, whereby Chinese cultural traditions and British colonial legacies mingle with the diversities of other cultures, with its intriguing debates on collective memory, cultural heritage, and city regeneration.
In many ways these debates regarding media, culture, and creative city development have become more pertinent with the rapidly strengthening ties among Hong Kong and Mainland cities. Their repercussions also extend beyond China to the entire Asian region, reflecting deeper patterns of shifting regional and global cultural dynamics. These shifts include the rise of the knowledge economy, the penetration of global media and IT, a growing emphasis on “cultural economies” in modern societies, and more intense strategic competition among nations and places. These changes have major implications for tourism, the built environment, art and cultural development, heritage preservation, corporate responsibility, community participation, and modes of public governance. All this calls for efforts to understand the issues involved and develop visions and strategies for sustainable city and social development in the 21st century.