Street, Yangon, Myanmar[16°77'68.99"N 96°15'32.02"E]
"Keeping heritage alive for a vibrant and viable urban future"

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CWS City Challenge raises over HK$200,000

Written by Ester van Steekelenburg on . Posted in About us

We would like to thank all the participants, sponsors and volunteers for making CWS City Challenge a huge success. The CWS City Challenge 2012 has raised over HK$300,000. We as the organising committee were all much impressed by your collective competitiveness and outstanding racing spirit. The event was a true celebration of Nepal and the work of CWS.

A little goes a long way in Nepal – the CWS team is working hard over there to improve the lives of tens of thousands of children and their families. Thank you & namaste

Crumbling Tibilisi

Written by Ester van Steekelenburg on . Posted in Consulting & Advisory

Dilapidated buildings in historic city centre

Dilapidated buildings in historic city centre

The old town of Tbilisi Georgia is crumbling. The historical city centre ignored by decades of Soviet rule is now subject to newly found investment pressure, as exemplified in the mushroom like new structures masterminded by the Saakashvili government. Not all residents see this as a sign of progress. Gudiashvili Square – a lovely leafy square surrounded by winding streets – was the recent scene of community protest to stop the demolition of historic properties. Thousands of people gathered, encouraged by heritage groups and local entrepreneurs – like café/restaurant Purpur – who recognise the value of the unique properties and urban fabric.

We were in town recently at the invitation of the Ministry of Culture and local heritage NGO Tiflis Hamkari to identify the possibilities for economically viable revitalization of the historic centre. The change of government offers a short but timely window of opportunity to change the mindset: use cultural heritage as an asset for economic development.

“A guide to help what’s off the “eaten track” “

Written by Ester van Steekelenburg on . Posted in Street Eats


Foodie Tours hit the spot

Guided food tours are a fascinating way to learn about local culture and customs, writes Anneliese O’Young in SCMP 48 hour magazine.

Hong Kong food be a mystery for new arrivals or visitors. Not everyone feels comfortable sitting down at a table in a random restaurant, pointing to whatever a nearby person is having, and then eating something that they can’t quite identify.

But learning about the food here is vital to understanding what makes Hong Kong tick. If you’re pressed for time, there’s no easier way than paying a guide to help navigate what’s off the “eaten” track. … read full article @ SCMP’s 48 hours magazine

“An incredible and fulfilling adventure”

Written by Ester van Steekelenburg on . Posted in Street Eats

sassy logo

A culinary tour round Kowloon

The Kowloon Culinary Wanderwalk is the perfect way to spend an evening – whether you’ve been here for years, have guests in town or are just visiting Hong Kong. Our knowledgeable guide Edmond led Team Sassy on a culinary tour of local eats, finishing up over four hours later with satisfied bellies and cultured minds in Yau Ma Tei…… Read full article @ Sassy HK


Written by Ester van Steekelenburg on . Posted in Cultural Experiences

Hidden gems in qaint Tokyo backstreetsHidden gems in Quaint Tokyo backstreets
Think Tokyo, think high rise… But look carefully and you find hidden between the neon clad office towers wonderfully quaint neighborhoods with charming small streets and a surprising variety of one-of-kind shops and eateries where products are crafted with great pride, passion and attention for detail. You’ll find specialist stationary, exquisite pottery, soft leather satchels, cool urban bikes, micro brewed beers and contemporary cocktails! And best of all …. this can all be easily enjoyed on foot. blessed with cool climate, wide pavements, polite drivers and friendly people make this a fantastic city to get lost in!

My Tokyo highlights:

  • iDrink . Gen Yamamoto in Azabu-Juban . Experimental cocktails in an exclusive 8th seat Japanese tea house setting
  • iSurprise . Nezu museum in Omotesando . stunning building lovely garden and beautiful Buddha collection
  • iEat . step back in time! The backstreets behind the Shibuya train station are home to traditional izakaya. tiny establishments that seat a max of 4 people and where the proprietor will proudly serve you a perfect draught beer or perfect whiskey and a seasonal selection of snacks prepared for you on the spot
  • iSee . Yoyogi Park . stunning landscaping, serene temples and Lolita girls on sundays at the Harajuka entrance
  • iShop . large 70’s red brick building opposite Omotesando Hills Complex that houses 4 floors of one-of-a-kind shop from antique collectors to bespoke leather bags


Written by Ester van Steekelenburg on . Posted in Cultural Experiences

6 - concert blue house6 - blue house 1

Hip restaurants are setting up shop in Wan Chai and property prices are forcing out the original population. It is the result of a decade long URA led urban renewal frenzy that saw not only the original urban fabric being erased but also a common identity being lost in the streets of Wan Chai to be replaced by the likes of Queen’s cube, Zenith  and the soon to be completed Avenue and Hopewell II; all examples of projects that are ill fitted in the urban context, overburden the infrastructure and most importantly have forced out the resident population and local entrepreneurs.
Yes, many of the buildings may be gone but the community spirit is still alive. Pass through Wan Chai on a Thursday night and you’ll witness something extraordinary: local residents, musicians and artists enjoying an outdoor live music concert while sharing food and wine. This is one of the many examples of Blue House initiatives which actively involves the local community and brings residents together. It is not just the Blue House project that is reaching out. Many of the retailers, galleries and bars that have sprung up in the area have made Wan Chai their location of choice because of the  authenticity, historic charm and pleasant neighbourhood atmosphere which they are keen to keep. 
The government should stop creating the conditions and allowing high rise towers to be built in historic districts. Experience in other Asian cities and around the world show that when the government keeps the unique urban fabric intact, the community will take care of itself. 

Download our iDiscover Wan Chai Walk and explore this vibrant district!