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Old November 24th, 2009, 07:55 PM   #1
hkskyline
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HONG KONG | Hai Tan Street Redevelopment | 5 Towers | App

URA endorses innovative design for flats aimed at reducing noise pollution
24 November 2009
South China Morning Post



Hong Kong will see its first residential development in staggered form in four years, with the Urban Renewal Authority adopting an innovative approach to reducing noise pollution faced by its redevelopment project in Sham Shui Po.

The project, in Kweilin and Hai Tan streets facing the West Kowloon Corridor, failed to satisfy the government's noise pollution standards, under which at least 80 per cent of the households should not be disturbed by noise of more than 70 decibels.

The project's leading architect, Professor Bernard Lim Wan-fung, said they could have solved the problem by changing the towers' orientation to allow the backs of the blocks to face the corridor, but this was not an environmentally friendly design.

"I also hope to demonstrate to developers that there are alternatives. Hong Kong dwellers deserve a quality living environment," he said.

Noise pollution could be greatly reduced if the flats faced Hi Tan Street, opposite the West Kowloon Corridor. But Lim said the flats would suffer from excessive sunlight and strong winds throughout the year, leading eventually to increased energy consumption.

The design endorsed by the board yesterday features a staggered pattern that allows larger flats to overhang to reflect noise away from smaller flats on upper floors.

For lower storeys, the design turns the fifth-storey clubhouse and shops into a noise barrier, separating the towers and the corridor. A glass panel is added outside the larger flats to further reduce noise. The unusual design will be applied to towers three and four - out of the five towers - which lie nearest the corridor. Both towers will be about 35 storeys.

Lim said developers seldom designed creative buildings, partly to save on cost and partly due to rigid building regulations, which do not encourage overhanging designs.

"The government will usually ban this design, as the space under the overhang will probably be 'stolen' for building illegal structures or included as living area," he said.

The overhangs in the project are designed with a slanting platform to ensure the outer space will not be taken for other uses. It is estimated that the design will add 3 to 5 per cent to the construction cost, which Lim described as minimal when compared with the high cost of land in Hong Kong.

Gordon Chan Hing-man, another architect involved in the project, said testing had shown that the design satisfied the noise standards.

The project will have a gross floor area of 66,960 square metres. It has still to go for tender.

The authority's chairman, Barry Cheung Chun-yuen, said the developer taking part in the project would have to follow the concept, and the project comprising 845 flats was expected to be completed in four years.

At yesterday's board meeting, members also agreed to add elderly-friendly facilities to another redevelopment, also in Sham Shui Po, to address the ageing population in the district. Special designs featuring larger doors, lower wash basins, more handrails and wider corridors will be incorporated into one of the three residential towers built in Yee Kuk Street. More than 60 of the 384 flats will be equipped with elderly-friendly facilities, and a social enterprise specialising in services for old people will be provided in the project.

"This is not a new policy. We just want to give an option to affected residents and encourage them to stay and retain their social network," Cheung said, adding similar measures would be introduced in projects that were started elsewhere.

Ho Hei-wah, director of the Society for Community Organisation and a member of the urban renewal strategy steering committee, said the idea stemmed from good intentions but questioned the effectiveness of the new measures.

"Many elderly people are tenants, who will receive less redevelopment compensation. Can they afford such {hellip} flats at a market price?"
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Old February 25th, 2010, 09:52 AM   #2
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Wealth to rise from home ruins
24 February 2009
The Standard

Displaced residents flush with compensation money from five Urban Renewal Authority redevelopment projects will trigger HK$13 billion worth of business activity by spending in the secondary property market and on renovation works.

URA chairman Barry Cheung Chun-yuen said those affected will buy new homes elsewhere, purchase furniture and fittings to go with them, and carry out refurbishment after receiving compensation from the authority.

The redevelopment projects will also lure new investors to buy nearby shops and flats.

Cheung estimates the Kwun Tong town center project alone will generate more than HK$2 billion in property and related business transactions.

He said redevelopment has helped boost the market.

The total amount earmarked for the main redevelopment projects _ Kwun Tong town center, Sai Yee Street in Mong Kok, Pak Tai Street in To Kwa Wan, Hai Tan Street in Sham Shui Po and Chi Kiang Street in To Kwa Wan, is estimated to be HK$18 billion.

``After residents receive the compensation, they will spend it and that will help stimulate the market,'' he said.

Cheung said he believes the financial tsunami will help speed up land resumption as property owners will be more willing to sell to the authority.

For Kwun Tong town center, the URA estimates it will cost HK$13 billion to acquire some 1,600 properties.

Cheung said he is happy with the progress of acquisition because around 30 percent of property owners in the Kwun Tong project have agreed to sell their flats and shops since the authority made its offer in December.

But the authority, according to a member of an urban renewal think- tank, has no plans for the time being to change its redevelopment model to one used in Japan, which gives residents the option of returning to their neighborhoods.

``Japan took around 20 years to put the model into practice. However, some of our urban districts have been so dilapidated that I don't think residents would like to wait so long for redevelopment,'' he said.

In an interview with The Standard, Urban Renewal Strategy Review steering committee member Ada Wong Ying-kay said the current practice of offering compensation to residents and then squeezing them out of their neighborhood hampers progress.
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Old April 10th, 2010, 07:21 PM   #3
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Source : URA
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 05:20 AM   #4
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Displaced residents moved to smaller flats
23 November 2010
South China Morning Post

Most residents displaced by an Urban Renewal Authority redevelopment in Sham Shui Po moved into older and smaller flats in the area, a study done for the authority found.

The study, done by the University of Hong Kong, followed the living conditions of residents affected by a redevelopment on Hai Tan Street. Only a fifth (178) of the 867 households were willing to be tracked.

Land Registry records show only 28 of the 100 flat owners who were displaced (the rest of the 867 households were tenants) bought another flat in their own names. Among them, 19 bought a flat in the same district, which covers Sham Shui Po, Lai Chi Kok and Cheung Sha Wan. The others moved farther afield.

All the owners who stayed in the district moved into a flat that was smaller - by an average of 100 square feet - and more than half bought one more than 30 years old. Seven moved into flats more than 40 years old.

The authority's chairman, Barry Cheung Chun-yuen, said they chose smaller flats to save money, not because they were forced to do so.

"Living in older buildings doesn't mean they are now worse off," he said. "The apartments they are living in are better managed and have installed lifts. Most affected residents in this project are elderly, and it's not surprising if they want to save some money for their future living."

He said the elderly sought a smaller flat because their family members had already moved out. Some flats affected by the redevelopment were as large as 800 square feet, he said.

Owners were given average compensation of over HK$3 million. At least half saved HK$1 million to HK$3.5 million of the amount after buying a flat, the authority estimated.

Half of the 178 households said their social life was reduced at the beginning but improved three months after they moved into their new homes.

"Some even said they had fewer medical consultations with their doctors," Cheung said.

Wong Yu-cheung, who teaches social work at the university, said the study could have gone further and asked why residents had opted for smaller flats and had fewer medical consultations.

"It's possible that they have moved farther from their doctors," Wong said.

A second tracking study is being conducted in Kwun Tong. Preliminary findings show most of the displaced residents moved to other districts and bought newer flats.
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