URA opens Multimedia Exploration Centre
The Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, and the Chairman
of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), Mr Barry Cheung, today
(Friday) officiated at the opening ceremony of the Authority's
Urban Renewal Exploration Centre (UREC).
Featuring multimedia facilities and interactive activities, the cyber-designed centre has on display exhibits and mock-up tenements such as a caged home and a partitioned room, where visitors can actually experience the poor living environment of residents in old districts. Visitors are encouraged to offer opinions and suggestions regarding the topic of urban renewal during their visit.
At the opening ceremony, Mr Cheung said: "A key objective of the Exploration Centre is to support and enhance public understanding of the complex issue of urban renewal in Hong Kong. With comprehensive information on the various problems and challenges, members of the public, in particular the younger generation, would be in a better position to consider the complexities involved and to offer suggestions."
As the Government's Urban Renewal Strategy is currently under review, the UREC is also meant to serve as an additional useful platform for the community to exchange constructive views in an informed setting, Mr Cheung noted.
Mr Cheung also emphasised the need for community engagement as urban renewal affects society as a whole. He added: "We have to strengthen communication with members of the public and ensure up-to-date information is available. That would help allow for public discussion that takes into account different, and sometimes competing, perspectives. The URA will organise school visits and activities at the UREC, such as forums and seminars in order to maintain a two-way communication flow."
"Apart from arranging guided tours to the UREC for schools and community groups, the URA has also produced teaching materials with expert input from teachers on the topic of urban renewal. These materials can be used as part of the school curricula for primary and secondary schools in the new academic year," Mr Cheung suggested.
Also attending the opening ceremony were members of the URA Board and the URA District Advisory Committees, representatives of government departments and school teachers.
Measuring about 4,000 square feet in area, the UREC is divided into four zones: Mock-up tenements, Exhibition Hall, Multimedia Games and Exchange Corner. The features of each zone are detailed in the Annex.
Members of the public are encouraged to make appointments for guided tours via the UREC website (www.urec.org.hk), or by submitting a completed application form by fax or email.
Located at the headquarters of the URA (Room 601, 6/F, Low Block, Grand Millennium Plaza, 181 Queen's Road Central), the UREC opens from 10am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays). Admission is free and by appointment only. For enquiries, please call 2588-2333, or visit the UREC website (www.urec.org.hk) for details.
1. Mock-up tenements
A visit to the centre begins with a tour of small and filthy mock-up tenements such as caged homes, cubicles and cocklofts that are homes to 110,000 unfortunate people. These tenements are usually crowded, unsafe and without proper ventilation. Visitors get a real-life experience of such living conditions, which typically exist in dilapidated buildings.
2. Exhibition Hall
Leaving the appalling tenements, visitors come to a bright and spacious exhibition hall where descriptive and informative panels, and a model and video presentation have been set up to offer visitors some information on the work of the URA, including its vision and mission, the history and development of its 4Rs (i.e. Redevelopment, rehabilitation, pRseravtion and Revitalisation) strategy on urban renewal, as well as its newly introduced green policy.
3. Multimedia Games
In order to provide visitors with simulated hands-on urban renewal experience, various fun-based interactive multimedia games are available. Visitors can experience the vibrancy that redevelopment projects bring to the community, how rehabilitation projects have improved the exterior and facilities of old buildings, the benefits of adaptive re-use of buildings with historical and architectural value, and the synergistic effects that come with revitalisation initiatives.
4. Exchange Corner
At the end of the tour, visitors come to a communication hall where they can exchange views regarding urban renewal, and any particular issues that they may wish to raise for discussion after the visit. The venue is dialogue-friendly in design as it is well-equipped with relevant multimedia facilities.