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Old July 15th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #641
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Fill in the gaps to develop HK, professors say
13 July 2009
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That must be the biggest joke ever from two highly educated professors.


Yes, we are running low on usable empty land, but if the government does better and land management, planning and redevelopment, we still have plenty of land before we really need to reclaim our water body from the outlying island paradise.

By that time, the SARs may not even exist and people are free to move around and live in the PRD area.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 01:12 PM   #642
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We still have plenty of land in the New Territories to develop. It's just the government doesn't want to auction too much and affect their revenues!
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Old July 17th, 2009, 05:23 PM   #643
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A greener Hong Kong - at a stroke
17 July 2009
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Did you take part in the public engagement exercise on design options for the new Wan Chai ferry pier and government helipad? Maybe you didn't hear about it; I only found out it was happening because, as chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board, I get sent material like this automatically. The consultation period ended last week, so it's too late now. But I think I can safely say that you didn't miss much.

The new pier will replace the existing Wan Chai ferry terminals after a new coastline is created further north. The helipad will replace the current temporary facility and will be near Golden Bauhinia Square, next to the Convention and Exhibition Centre. It will be for mixed government and private use, but smaller than the four-pad commercial heliport proposed by some business figures a few years back.

These new facilities are part of the Central-Wan Chai bypass project. It is a controversial plan because it requires reclamation of the harbour and is essentially intended to increase levels of road traffic. Most of all, opponents claim that public consultation on the plan, which dates back to the 1990s, was insufficient and officials rammed it through.

Perhaps to try and avoid such accusations, officials are offering citizens a choice of two themes for the new pier and helipad: "natural waterfront" and "modern city". In fact, the designs are identical. The choice is simply between synthetic timber and metal external decor for the pier, and two different arrangements for the green areas on the pier rooftop and next to the helipad. Apart from the noise barrier (described as "urban furniture"), the helipad itself just looks like a helipad, either way.

Basically, the consultation asked whether you would like the pier in brown or white, and how you would like some trees and patches of lawn laid out.

But the lawns are the interesting bit. The artist's impressions of the "natural waterfront" option and both the helipads show areas of what looks like grass, with people walking on them. Assuming that the Civil Engineering and Development Department is not planning to use Astroturf, there are several possible explanations.

One is that they really are going to put grass there, and you will be able to use it. Another is that there will be signs saying "keep off". Or maybe someone told the artist to paint green in the picture, even though it will be concrete in the end.

In recent years, lots of trees have started to appear on artists' impressions of government infrastructure plans. Current pictures and scale models of the future Central-Wan Chai waterfront, for example, seem to be bursting with green (though not quite as much as private developers' pictures of future residential blocks). But, beneath it all, it is the engineers' original plan. Someone has simply added a lot of trees and green in the gaps.

The government, as I have said here before, traditionally sees public space as a waste - precious revenue that it has sacrificed. But I know from experience that some officials are becoming more open to the idea that the opposite is true: revenue can mean the sacrifice of our precious quality of life. Even they, however, have a problem when it comes to grass.

Apparently it is an administrative headache; it is hard to grow here because of our weather and environment, and it requires a lot of maintenance. It is more economic in bigger areas like Victoria Park - and hopefully will be in the West Kowloon Cultural District - but it makes less sense in small areas.

So I have to say I am a bit sceptical about the artist's impression of the new Wan Chai pier rooftop garden and the area next to the new helipad. I would love to take my children to them to play and run around there, but something tells me it won't happen.

Providing lawns in such small areas for people to walk and play on costs money, and green artists' paint is cheap.

Bernard Chan is a former member of the executive and legislative councils
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Old July 18th, 2009, 08:35 AM   #644
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Committee weighs competing pier designs
18 July 2009
South China Morning Post

The Harbourfront Enhancement Committee will next week discuss two design options for the new Wan Chai ferry pier.

The designs, dubbed "natural waterfront" and "modern city", will both be low-rise structures not higher than 20 metres to respect the waterfront setting, with designs intended to avoid creating wall-like buildings, according to a paper submitted to the committee yesterday.

The new pier will be built on the future harbourfront after the existing two piers are demolished to make way for the Central-Wan Chai bypass and related reclamation.

The design plans also cover a government helipad at Golden Bauhinia Square, to be relocated from the existing site at a former public cargo working area, also because of the bypass project.

The government said the new pier would be linked to its hinterland with a landscaped area and would be developed as a harbour observation deck for the public. From the helipad, visitors would be able to take helicopter sightseeing tours run by commercial operators.

In the "modern city" plan, the glazed walls of the building would be covered by graphic images showing old and new scenes of the Wan Chai district. The pier would be supported by metal columns with braces branching out in a tree-like pattern.

The "natural waterfront" design would use synthetic timber to create paving arranged in a wavy pattern.

The options were put to a brief public consultation late last month. Public views are being analysed.

The Wan Chai District Council has, meanwhile, expressed preference for the modern design, which members thought was more compatible with the outlook of the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Members also urged the government to connect the new pier to the future MTR station at the exhibition centre to increase usage, as the existing piers were underused.

In another paper submitted to the committee, the Central and Western District Council and the Caritas Mok Cheung Sui Kan Community Centre proposed developing a 3.7 kilometre waterfront area between Sheung Wan and Kennedy Town into five themed areas.

The themes would be a green park, a food plaza, a multifunction promenade, a cultural plaza and a sunset-viewing park.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 07:14 PM   #645
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
That must be the biggest joke ever from two highly educated professors.


Yes, we are running low on usable empty land, but if the government does better and land management, planning and redevelopment, we still have plenty of land before we really need to reclaim our water body from the outlying island paradise.

By that time, the SARs may not even exist and people are free to move around and live in the PRD area.
I think it's all a publicity exercise to keep reclamation on the headlines!
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Old July 21st, 2009, 07:09 PM   #646
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灣仔繞道通風樓設計諮詢
2009年07月16日



方案一 以流線型屋頂設計,呼應會展的新翼設計。


方案二 以條板屏風為主題,並提供綠化天台。

【本報訊】中環灣仔繞道和東區走廊連接路年底動工,路政署正設計隧道通風大樓,稍後會諮詢公眾。顧問公司提出兩個設計方案,包括以流線型屋頂為設計主題,呼應灣仔會展新翼的設計,又或以條板屏風作主題,增加綠化面積,配合未來海濱長廊的發展,該項通風大樓工程預料二○一四年初動工,二○一五年底完工。

提供綠化空間

中環及灣仔繞道和東區走廊連接路長四點五公里,當中包括長三點七公里的隧道,連接中環林士街行車天橋至東區走廊,以紓緩區內交通擠塞問題。主幹道中的通風大樓位於灣仔,大樓作用是放置必需的機電設備,包括隧道通風、供電、防火及交通監察等系統設備。

顧問工程公司就大樓外觀設計提出兩個方案,方案一是以流線型屋頂為主題,採用金屬物料的流線型屋頂,如在海濱中展翅膀,高低不一的雙翼,可與灣仔會展新翼的屋頂相呼應。通風大樓周圍會栽種樹木及灌木,提供綠化空間,配合未來海濱發展,加添自然感覺。

至於方案二則以條板屏風為主題,利用條板屏風遮蔽通風大樓主體,構造出整齊而有變化之立面圖案,大樓主要通風口前將加上弧形屏風,大樓天台則進行綠化。
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 06:42 AM   #647
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Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
Yes, we are running low on usable empty land, but if the government does better and land management, planning and redevelopment, we still have plenty of land before we really need to reclaim our water body from the outlying island paradise.
Oh absolutely, I used to praise HK's planning for how awesome the streets are and zoning, and how convenient it was to have all these pedestrian bridges...etc. But after I went back and reading all this reclamation stuff (and also how NYC grassroots campaigns are pushing for more 'livable streets'), I'm not too sure HK is making the right decisions in constantly expanding into the harbors.

Quote:
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By that time, the SARs may not even exist and people are free to move around and live in the PRD area.
A little too optimistic...
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Old July 24th, 2009, 07:25 PM   #648
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馬頭角擬建海濱長廊
19 July 2009

【明報專訊】繼中環新海濱、東區海旁及觀塘後,政府有意研究活化馬頭角海濱。路政署正進行城市設計研究,初步構思是把翔龍灣以南約3公頃的沿海土地活化,建造約400米海濱長廊,長遠希望能接駁啟德與海心公園,把海濱綠化率提升至三成;亦會研究在海心公園興建「向海的社區中心」,增加休憩空間。

綠化率升至三成 增休憩空間

擬建的中九龍幹線連接西九龍至九龍灣,全長4.7公里,當中3.9公里隧道穿越彌敦道、何文田及土瓜灣地底。路政署昨舉行公眾論壇,諮詢居民對中九龍幹線位於九龍灣段的意見,除重申臨時填海工程,署方表示正進行馬頭角城市設計概念研究,希望利用興建幹線的契機,改善當區環境。

負責研究、身兼建築師學會副主席的呂元祥建築師事務所有限公司董事黃錦星指出,現時由翔龍灣以南至海心公園的海濱,被驗車中心打斷,而且有關地皮因過往主要用作碼頭及驗車等,綠化率只有少於3%。

研究初步構思是把翔龍灣以南約3公頃的沿海土地活化,黃錦星建議遷移驗車中心,騰出土地大量綠化,希望該地與海心花園的整體綠化率提升至30%。研究建議提供有蓋的公共空間,亦會加設泊車位,方便前往。

至於九龍城渡輪碼頭、馬頭角公眾碼頭及已停用的汽車渡輪碼頭將全部保留,「汽車渡輪碼頭是以前未有海底隧道時常用的設施,設有天橋可讓上層車輛登船,希望可保留這碼頭及天橋,並展示汽車渡輪碼頭的歷史。」黃錦星說。

研究又建議在海心公園內興建一個被水體包圍的社區中心,除可飽覽海景,亦能看到公園內的魚尾石,重現昔日公園如「獨立島嶼」的特色。研究將於下月完成,路政署總工程師周進華指出,構思將不影響土地用途,作為向規劃署的參考。
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Old July 26th, 2009, 06:25 PM   #649
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What land shortage?
23 July 2009
SCMP

Is there an acute shortage of land in Hong Kong? It is perhaps obvious to some that, because of the high density of development, the city must be short of land. However, a quick search reveals that only 23 per cent of Hong Kong's land mass is actually built up. About 40 per cent is country parks, and the rest consists of non-country park grassland, woods and shrubland, agricultural land, fishponds and reservoirs.

According to government data, as of 2007, only 2.2 per cent of Hong Kong's total land mass of 1,100 square kilometres is industrial land, industrial estates and warehouse and storage space. This amounts to about 24 square kilometres of land, which may not sound like a lot. Of the city's 1,700 industrial buildings, nearly 1,400 were built before the 1990s - by which time, most of Hong Kong's manufacturing had relocated across the border. Most of these buildings are therefore underused and have been so for more than a decade.

This means that, if we had an effective urban renewal and regeneration policy, these buildings could be retrofitted or redeveloped for other uses. After all, only 0.3 per cent of our total land is used for commercial and business purposes - a very small amount for a financial and services centre - and less than 7 per cent for housing.

These figures tell another story: Hong Kong is full of high-rise blocks by choice. If less than 7.5 per cent of the land is used for housing and offices, no wonder we have to create very high structures. Many new residential complexes look like one tower has been put on top of another, and commercial buildings are now extremely tall, large structures. There have been a rising number of complaints in recent years about very tall, wide buildings creating a "walled" effect that block views and breezes from other residents.

Two mainland academics recently proposed that Hong Kong could ease its land shortage by reclaiming waters between Lamma, Cheung Chau and Peng Chau to create 25 square kilometres of land. The idea is to create space for "comprehensive development", and the aim was to stimulate discussion in Hong Kong on how the city might develop in the future.

Let's call this the "development-by-reclamation" model. This is, in fact, a lazy development model. Instead of examining current land use and seeing how certain areas could be renewed or regenerated, the adoption of such a model would probably divert attention away from some of our severe problems, such as the blight in the New Territories caused by the rampant illegal usage of agricultural land for container storage; the failure to find ways to convert old factory buildings for other uses; and the inability of the government to replace the small-house policy of land grants to male indigenous villagers.

The government made a weak attempt at the time of the handover to deal with the small-house policy - an administrative measure created in the 1970s to persuade indigenous villagers to sell their rural land to build new towns, in exchange for land for them to build homes - but it came to naught and it has prevented better planning in the New Territories. If these measures can be dealt with, a substantial amount of land would be freed up.

It is estimated that reclaiming the land between islands, which would lie outside the control of the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance, would cost HK$11.2 billion. It would change Hong Kong's harbour forever. No doubt, some people will support such a project to create more land under the mistaken assumption that there isn't enough.

Perhaps what the two mainland academics have achieved is to help us focus on the shortcomings of existing land policies. Changing these will be very hard if we use the same mindset that created them in the first place. The first assumption we need to get rid of is that Hong Kong has an acute shortage of land. And let's not forget that southeastern and West Kowloon are only two of the vast but existing urban areas slated for comprehensive development.

Christine Loh Kung-wai is CEO of the non-profit think tank Civic Exchange and chairwoman of the Society for Protection of the Harbour.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 08:56 PM   #650
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What land shortage?
23 July 2009
SCMP

This means that, if we had an effective urban renewal and regeneration policy, these buildings could be retrofitted or redeveloped for other uses. After all, only 0.3 per cent of our total land is used for commercial and business purposes - a very small amount for a financial and services centre - and less than 7 per cent for housing.

Let's call this the "development-by-reclamation" model. This is, in fact, a lazy development model. Instead of examining current land use and seeing how certain areas could be renewed or regenerated, the adoption of such a model would probably divert attention away from some of our severe problems, such as the blight in the New Territories caused by the rampant illegal usage of agricultural land for container storage; the failure to find ways to convert old factory buildings for other uses; and the inability of the government to replace the small-house policy of land grants to male indigenous villagers.
If the research in this article is true, reusing existing land in Hong Kong should be actively encouraged. Not only is it cheaper than reclamation, but it also helps prevent sprawl by rejuvenating communities while preventing damaging the environment.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 09:15 PM   #651
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If the research in this article is true, reusing existing land in Hong Kong should be actively encouraged. Not only is it cheaper than reclamation, but it also helps prevent sprawl by rejuvenating communities while preventing damaging the environment.
The problem is redevelopment requires a very labour intensive and time consumption administrative process, from buying back property ownership from hundreds to thousands property owners, demolishing existing structures, and clean up. That process discourages many developers to pick up the cost and time, and not necessarily cheaper than just reclaim from the sea. Well, at least, we have established the URA these days to focus in this matter despite controversies on its redevelopment strategy in many recent projects from the Wedding Card Street, to Kwun Tong Centre, to Central etc.

Again, I see HK needs better land management and encourage redevelopment to come first way before the need to reach out to the outlying islands.

Sprawl is not a problem in HK with such a high density of population. Sprawl may actually be good for HK to decentralize our business from the Victoria Harbour cluster and dilute the extreme density in some districts. But with the well defined political boundary, lack of developable land and population density, the degree of sprawl will never be similar to any North Americans' cities we have seen.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 02:31 AM   #652
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Sprawl is not a problem in HK with such a high density of population. Sprawl may actually be good for HK to decentralize our business from the Victoria Harbour cluster and dilute the extreme density in some districts. But with the well defined political boundary, lack of developable land and population density, the degree of sprawl will never be similar to any North Americans' cities we have seen.
I guess I was trying to say sprawl over sea haha.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 03:07 AM   #653
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I guess I was trying to say sprawl over sea haha.
Turn the clock back, and we had significant portion of the population lived on boats.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 09:42 PM   #654
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Well ... they've been trying to decentralize for decades with the new towns, although it's nowhere like sprawl!
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 06:49 PM   #655
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A small update.

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Old August 9th, 2009, 07:08 PM   #656
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Looking good ... and the new red AIA sign!
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Old August 10th, 2009, 04:30 PM   #657
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More zoomed in.

image hosted on flickr
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Old August 10th, 2009, 05:58 PM   #658
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That is a lot of land...
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Old August 11th, 2009, 06:34 AM   #659
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Probably the most expensive bit of land on planet earth. Glad that they can't put too much concrete on it this time.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 06:39 PM   #660
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Harbour watchdog wants more teeth
10 August 2009
SCMP

The harbour watchdog will recommend that the government replace it with a powerful commission, led by the chief secretary, to plan and manage the waterfront.

This follows a two-year study seeking a suitable management model for the waterfront, which has often been often criticised for lacking vibrancy and is plagued by problems arising from the involvement of several government departments.

The Harbour Front Enhancement Committee, which ends its second term this month, says it should be transformed into a commission that includes community members, organisations represented in the existing committee and government representatives. The commission would set up expert groups to advise the government on planning, engineering and design matters.

While formulating design plans for waterfront areas, the commission could be given power to propose budgets for waterfront projects and work with developers who own waterfront sites.

The design plans would be executed by government offices set up at district level. The existing harbour unit of the Development Bureau would become the commission's executive arm.

Patrick Lau Sau-shing, chairman of the Legislative Council's harbour planning subcommittee, said the recommendations would facilitate waterfront developments on private sites.

Members of the committee have met regularly to identify waterfront projects for public enjoyment since the committee was established in 2004. But no permanent waterfront project has been implemented in five years.

Committee chairman Lee Chack-fan, while not disclosing details, said the task force studying management options had drafted a recommendation report that would be finalised next week.

A person involved in drafting the report said: "We hope that with more power given to the commission and more involvement from the private sector, our waterfront can be revitalised in a more creative and less restrictive manner." The source said the Town Planning Board would consult the commission when it examined waterfront projects.

Waterfront planning became a controversial issue when large sections of Victoria Harbour were reclaimed and heritage features such as Queen's Pier and the Star Ferry Pier were removed to pave the way for highways like the Central and Wan Chai Bypass.

The government set up the committee in 2004 in response to public outcries. But its limited advisory role and the lack of co-ordination among government departments, which has delayed waterfront projects, have prompted calls for an independent harbour authority.

The committee's recommendation is seen as a "balanced and pragmatic option" by people familiar with the draft report. A commission under the chief secretary's leadership would be able to co-ordinate departments without the need to set up a statutory harbour authority that could be time consuming, they said.

Task force members inspected waterfront areas in Liverpool, London, Sydney, San Francisco, Vancouver and Singapore before drawing up the recommendations.

A spokeswoman for the Development Bureau said it would study the recommendation and announce the new term in due course.
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