T. Edwin Chow, Michael Ng, David W. S. Wong, C. Carlo Chan
Abstract: A key to understand a place is to explore the geographies of population, physical environments, socioeconomic entities and their interaction over time and space. By examining the archived company directories of Hong Kong during the period of 1900–1930, this study reconstructed its historical geography of legal functional units and explored their spatiotemporal relationships with social, economic and political functional units. The study found that in the early 1900s, legal practitioners scattered around nowadays Central and began more clustered over time. Among the lawyers, barristers were more clustered than solicitors. Moreover, the cluster of legal units moved from western Central to eastern Central with a transition splitting into two smaller clusters between 1910 and 1920. The results from regression analysis and local entropy mapping suggest that the spatial associations between legal and social, economic and political functional units changed over time, reflecting the evolving emphases of the legal professionals in serving the economic sectors in this commercial-based city. This work also demonstrates, methodologically, a space–time framework of parametric and non-parametric analyses appropriate to study historical geography.