Community Participation in Development Designs for the Kwun Tong Town Centre Project
The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) announced today (Tuesday) the
launch of a two-month public consultation exercise on the
development design concepts of the Kwun Tong Town Centre, the
largest single redevelopment project that the Authority has ever
Speaking at a media conference, the Managing Director of the URA, Mr Billy Lam, said the Kwun Tong Town Centre project, covering a site area of 5.3 hectares, would take 12 years or more to complete and would provide a strong impetus for the sustainable growth of Kwun Tong, as well as serving as an important hub of East Kowloon.
"The URA has been, and will continue to, work very closely with the local community as partners in building a modern and vibrant Kwun Tong Town Centre of tomorrow," Mr. Lam said.
The URA's Chairman of the Kwun Tong District Advisory Committee (DAC), Professor David Lung, said: "This is the fourth and a more extensive round of consultation. The URA has already conducted three rounds of consultation with the local community in the past 18 months. In early and mid 2005 respectively, we assisted the Kwun Tong District Council in conducting a residents survey within the redevelopment boundary and then undertook ourselves another community aspirations survey on the wider Kwun Tong area. Both surveys were done by commissioning a professional survey team of the University of Hong Kong."
Then came the formation of the Kwun Tong DAC in November 2005, with representatives from a wide cross section of the community including Legislative Council members, local community leaders, property owners, academics, professionals, minibus and hawkers association representatives, etc. The DAC has since had more than 10 very fruitful committee and sub-group meetings to deliberate on the road map, timetable, development mix, and planning and design of the project.
In the third round of consultation earlier this year, the URA organized a community participatory workshop which was enthusiastically attended by over 100 delegates representing various stakeholders associated with the project. With the innovative facility of a 3-D urban design computer software at the workshop, the delegates came up with six notional planning concepts which were then followed up by three architectural consultants, appointed by public tender, by the URA.
The consultants, having regard to the notional concepts of the workshop, have come up with three comprehensive design models, each with its own unique theme and features, for further consultation with the wider community.
"Emerging from the surveys, committee discussions and the workshop is a consensus that the future town centre should provide comprehensive public facilities, commercial hub with landmark building, quality residential space, enlarged open space, community facilities for culture and recreation, plenty of greening and a new, efficient public transport interchange to solve the terrible transport problem of the current town centre. Clearly this is a tall order but I think the consultants have competently faced up to the challenge," Professor Lung commented.
"This round of public consultation will begin with a three-week roadshow of the consultants' designs and models at a temporary Hip Wo Street site within the redevelopment boundary on Thursday. The roadshow will then move on to three more locations in Kwun Tong and adjacent districts. At the conclusion of this exercise, the URA will put together a final proposal based on community feedbacks and policy and financial considerations, for submission to the Town Planning Board before the end of March next year," Professor Lung said.
The design themes proposed by the consultants are:
- "Metamorphosis" by wda group: "Adopt a simple straight
forward design concept which evolves from the traditional town
centre to form a new oasis. Street culture and enjoyment of
shopping merged in harmony."
- "Civic Hub" by Ma Leung & Associates Architects (HK): "A
civic square is created as the focal point of the development.
Aiming to create a quality town centre and to enhance its presence
and identity in East Kowloon."
- "A New Centre for East Kowloon, The Model City of Tomorrow" by Wong & Ouyang (HK): "Creation of a new town centre for Kwun Tong and East Kowloon, a new focus for community life."
The public are encouraged to inspect these designs and models
displayed at four different local venues and put forward their
views and suggestions. URA staff will be on hand to answer
questions concerning the design concepts and features. At the
same time, URA teams will reach out to various community groups and
offer briefing sessions for them. The target audience will include
transport operators, residents' associations, hawkers, business
operators, government and non-government organizations, religious
bodies, ethnic groups, professional institutes and schools. "The
whole exercise will be a toothcomb operation conducted in a highly
proactive stance," Professor Lung added.
Meanwhile, the URA has commissioned the Social Work and Social Administration Department of the University of Hong Kong to undertake an opinion survey at the roadshow venues and briefing sessions. A total of 40,000 consultation documents on the design plans and models have been published for distribution.
"With over 1,600 property interests, affecting some 4,500 residents and costing nearly $30 billion in total development costs, this mega project for Kwun Tong is a huge challenge for the URA and the local community in partnership," Mr Lam said.
To ensure success, the URA and the Kwun Tong DAC are of the view that five guiding principles are essential:
1. wide public consultation and full community participation in
planning and design;
2. adoption of a creative and visionary design for a modern town centre serving as a model for quality living and as the commercial, transportation, retail and activities hub for East Kowloon;
3. phased development to minimize impact and to sustain the economic vibrancy of the area;
4. understanding and acceptance of URA's prevailing compensation and rehousing policies by those affected; and
5. prudent financing strategy to ensure financial viability and sustainability of the project.
Also speaking at the press conference, Mr Chan Chun-bun,
Chairman of the Kwun Tong District Council, said, "A residents
survey by the District Council showed that over 86 per cent of the
residents supported early implementation of this project. The voice
of the residents is heard and the choice of the community is
crystal clear. The District Council fully supports the
implementation of the project as early as possible and will render
any assistance necessary to make it happen."
"The existing town centre was planned and construction in the early 1960's and it was designed to serve a mere 60,000 population. Today, Kwun Tong's population has soared to over 600,000 and the pressure on the town centre is appalling. We are obviously very anxious to see that the town centre be comprehensively regenerated not only to cope with the basic needs of today but the development of the district in the coming decades," Mr. Chan stressed.
The roadshow on the Kwun Tong Town Centre design concepts will be held at the following venues:
- 10/8-31/8 (11:00am - 8:00pm)
71 Hip Wo Street, Kwun Tong
- 2/9 - 9/9 (11:00 am - 7:00 pm)
apm Office Tower Lobby
- 19/9-20/9 (12:00 pm - 9:00 pm)
Metro City Plaza II, Level 1 Atrium, Tseung Kwan O
- 25/9 - 27/9 (12:00pm - 9:00 pm)
Lei Yue Mun Plaza, Level 1, Promotion Venue, Yau Tong