Topography of Tears as a manifestation to Urban Landscape of Tears

Since June 12, 2019, 88% of Hong Kong’s 7.4 million residents have been tear gassed.

Since then, the urban landscape of Hong Kong has changed and transformed completely because of tear gas.


Tears are our emotional terrains which bear visual resemblance to the physical world. Tears are places where language strains to express grief, pride, frustration, joy, the confrontation with pollutants, the confrontation with tyranny.

Hong Kong has become a stage of disobedience flooded with massive protests since June 2019. The political brutality from the government and the physical violence from the police create a city of tears where people are forced to cry.


My methodologies are to define tears spatial typology and examine how a new type of architecture could emerge by creating a platform for civic engagement of resistance, learning from tear gas attacks to rethink the city through 5 layers: Mapping, Gathering Evidences, Case Study, Material Analysis and Built Environment Strategy to resist and live with tears in the city. 


There were two million people protesting against the legislation of a controversial plan to allow extraditions to mainland China on 16 June 2019. 

The government had argued the proposed amendments would “plug the loopholes” so that the city would not be a safe haven for criminals. But critics said those in the former British colony would be exposed to China’s deeply flawed justice system, and it would lead to further erosion of the city’s judicial independence. 

After months of protests which often developed into violence, the bill was officially withdrawn, but that has failed to stop the unrest.



Our tears, metabolised differently compared to what it was before the air pollutants smog irritate our eyes. Chlorobenzalmalononitrile, or CS gas in short, is a crowd control agent which did not exist until World War I. CS was first discovered in 1928, it is synthesised by the reaction of 2-chloroben-zaldehyde and malononitrile via the Knoevenagel condensation. The widely use of CS afterwards in Iraq, United States, Hong Kong, Venezuela changes the way we cry.



Allied Market predicted tear gas market annual growth is 5.4% from 2016 to 2021. By 2022, crowd control agents market size will reach 97 Billion USD. Research & Markets reported China crowd control weapons market could grow 7.4% to 8.11 Billion USD from 2019 to 2025.





In Hong Kong, the police have used weapons made in the UK and the US. In June, the UK suspended export licences for crowd control equipment to the city, though there were reportedly no live export licences active at the time. The US Protect Hong Kong Act, aimed at prohibiting the sale of crowd control weapon to the Hong Kong police, was passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It was proposed by US House Representative Jim McGovern.


The Hong Kong police are using both Non Lethal Technologies MP-6M5-CS Multi-Smoke Projectile from Pennsylvania and the Norinco Jing An KF-302-20 CS Grenade canisters from China.


The project investigates how domesticity in Hong Kong shapes the city into a role model of protest among the world, but also makes the government possible to suppress demonstrations from its geopolitical condition, supported by a typological analysis on the housing in which the city has evolved. There is a proposal of a future city which could resist tear gas infiltration on various scales, from urban morphology to apartment units.


Hong Kong

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