Hong Kong is a city of contrasts. The old-world/primitive/oriental is merged in fascinating ways with the newest, smartest technology available.

One of the things that has piqued my interest has been the fact that the skyscrapers of Hong Kong were built with the assistance of the quintessential oriental bamboo. I’ve been impressed to see the bamboo scaffolding on all manner of building sites — from repairs of minor retail shops to huge, high-tech construction works.

Hong Kong, October 2009
In contrast to the high-tech buildings themselves, the giant webs of scaffolding used in their construction are made entirely of bamboo. Extremely durable and strong, bamboo goes up four times faster than steel -- no nails or screws are used -- and withstands typhoons better.

Hong Kong, October 2009
The workers on the scaffolding often aren't properly outfitted for their dangerous work, and deaths occur each year from poor safety practices in the construction industry.

Hong Kong, October 2009
The bamboo is held together with black plastic ties.

Tai Po, Hong Kong, October 2009

Hong Kong, October 2009
This building site had a crane as well bamboo scaffolding.

Hong Kong, October 2009
More bamboo scaffolding -- this time on the Ikea building!