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Old September 13th, 2007, 03:09 PM   #381
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...so what happen to Sir Frosty's design?? I guess it must melted
Going down the drain.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 07:12 PM   #382
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Let's talk, for arts' sake!
Hong Kong Standard
Thursday, September 13, 2007







This looks like the shape of things to come in West Kowloon.

The government yesterday launched a three-month public consultation after unveiling its latest plan for the controversial West Kowloon cultural district development.

Under the plan, the government will foot the HK$19 billion bill for the proposed statutory authority to build the arts and cultural facilities, while the recurrent income from the commercial part of the complex will offset the facilities' operating costs.

The major difference from the previous plans was the building of the site's arts facilities which will no longer hinge on the revenue from land sales.

Instead, the government will first shoulder the bill for building the arts facilities by asking for an HK$19.2 billion upfront endowment from the Legislative Council at the beginning of 2008, to set up an independent statutory West Kowloon Authority to operate the project. The authority will then use the recurrent income from retail and restaurant space rentals to offset the operational deficits of the arts and cultural facilities.

The HK$19.2 billion is equivalent to the estimated land sale revenue from the residential, office and hotel portions of the site. According to the committee's financial analysis, none of the proposed arts and cultural facilities are financially self-sustainable.

Acting Chief Executive Henry Tang Ying-yen said after success of the Airport Authority, he is confident the proposed model will work and generate stabl
e income for the project.

He emphasized the importance of culture and arts development in international metropolitan cities, and said it has the same importance as development in transportation and planning.

Tang said the project is expected to raise HK$71 billion in income. He also dismissed complaints by lawmakers that the arts facilities comprise less than half the total development.

"I don't think hotels and residential units will have a negative effect on the site. A cultural district just cannot stand alone, and the commercial facilities will help to draw people there even when there are no performances," Tang said.

"The site's outline zoning plan will be submitted to the Town Planning Board for approval by the fourth quarter of next year.

The relaunched project has a plot ratio of 1.81 and the height of buildings is limited to 100 meters - both significantly lower than in the previous plan.

Of the 40-hectare site, 23 hectares will be public open space.

For the development zone, 43 percent of the gross floor area will be residential, office towers and hotels, 41 percent will be arts facilities and museums, 16 percent will be retail, restaurants and entertainment space.

To ease the stress on existing venues, 15 performing arts venues will be built in two phases, with 12 completed by 2015.

The new home affairs chief Tsang Tak-shing said the government is committed to strengthening support for performing arts groups, enhancing training and increasing resources for local performing arts development.

Former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan, who is being touted as the likely head of the authority, told The Standard the site will be the final stop for express trains connecting major mainland cities.

The site's original single-developer proposal in 2003 resulted in an outcry by politicians and the public who saw it as government-business collusion.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 07:13 PM   #383
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Greens want open space in district
Hong Kong Standard
Thursday, September 13, 2007

Environmental group GreenSense wants the whole West Kowloon cultural district to be open areas without land set for commercial use.

This was the group's reaction to the government's new plan for the harbor- side cultural district.

Under the new plan announced yesterday, the government has set the maximum overall plot ratio for the whole site at 1.81 and a height restriction of 50 to 100 meters.

But GreenSense said the restrictions are not enough as the government will sell some of the land for commercial use and developers will build high-rise buildings at the site.

GreenSense president Tam Hoi- pong explained that any high-rise building will affect air flow and create a "wall effect."

Tam said: "I think the government has already made enough money to develop the cultural facilities at the site. It does not need to sell any land for commercial use to finance the project."

He said nearby buildings at the cultural district are all very tall and they have already blocked air flows.

Hong Kong Observatory senior scientific officer Leung Wing-mo said the height restriction and maximum plot ratio will not alleviate the "heat-island" problem in Hong Kong.

"But at least it will not worsen the heat-island effect," Leung added.

The effect is the phenomenon of urban air and surface temperatures being higher than rural areas as tall buildings and narrow streets trap heat and reduce air flow.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 02:55 AM   #384
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Old September 14th, 2007, 02:57 AM   #385
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Gov't Press Release:
Public forums on the West Kowloon Cultural District
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Old September 15th, 2007, 06:10 PM   #386
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From news.gov.hk:
Cultural district vital for HK: TS Tsang
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Old September 15th, 2007, 10:52 PM   #387
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Greens want open space in district
Hong Kong Standard
Thursday, September 13, 2007

Environmental group GreenSense wants the whole West Kowloon cultural district to be open areas without land set for commercial use.

This was the group's reaction to the government's new plan for the harbor- side cultural district.

Under the new plan announced yesterday, the government has set the maximum overall plot ratio for the whole site at 1.81 and a height restriction of 50 to 100 meters.

But GreenSense said the restrictions are not enough as the government will sell some of the land for commercial use and developers will build high-rise buildings at the site.

GreenSense president Tam Hoi- pong explained that any high-rise building will affect air flow and create a "wall effect."

Tam said: "I think the government has already made enough money to develop the cultural facilities at the site. It does not need to sell any land for commercial use to finance the project."

He said nearby buildings at the cultural district are all very tall and they have already blocked air flows.

Hong Kong Observatory senior scientific officer Leung Wing-mo said the height restriction and maximum plot ratio will not alleviate the "heat-island" problem in Hong Kong.

"But at least it will not worsen the heat-island effect," Leung added.

The effect is the phenomenon of urban air and surface temperatures being higher than rural areas as tall buildings and narrow streets trap heat and reduce air flow.
Sometime people just asking too much, and I feel this time I don't agree with the tree huggers, high-art won't make any money, so selling land and getting rent from shops and hotel is a good idea, Also shops and hotel will keep the area alive too. Do the tree huggers really think people will go there with nothing going on...no shop, no place to eat.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 05:25 PM   #388
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Sometime people just asking too much, and I feel this time I don't agree with the tree huggers, high-art won't make any money, so selling land and getting rent from shops and hotel is a good idea, Also shops and hotel will keep the area alive too. Do the tree huggers really think people will go there with nothing going on...no shop, no place to eat.
it's no surprise that the "suggestion" made by GreenSense doesn't make any sense.

Such a disgraceful community that called themselves a "environmental protection group".
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Old September 17th, 2007, 07:40 PM   #389
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funny, my teacher reminded us today that people who tells us to save the "environment" and save the "earth" are actually "human protection groups" since the environment and the earth will be fine, it'll change, but it's not going to disappear. It's us that'll disappear.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 01:35 PM   #390
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Old September 18th, 2007, 06:49 PM   #391
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Arculli defends funding scheme for culture hub
Hong Kong Standard
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Like international business centers such as London and New York, Hong Kong should always ensure that business and pleasure go hand in hand, according to Ronald Arculli, convener of the financial advisory group for the West Kowloon cultural district.

"You can't have an international financial center in a desert. People need to entertain and be entertained."

Arculli believes unhinging the site's cultural development from property sales has been a key factor in giving full sail to the controversial project.

The advisory group had earlier said that arts development should not be interdependent with property sales, Arculli told The Standard in an exclusive interview.

The first proposal - a single-developer approach - sparked an outcry when it was unveiled in 2003.

The project was so controversial that it was scrapped in February last year, raising the hopes of the arts community that a new plan would bring about a blueprint for cultural development, along with property development.

"We didn't want the two discussions to overlap," Arculli said. "We would rather disengage the real estate component of the project [and make it] a separate item. Everybody knows that there is no point doing this if you're not going to do something on the second front - cultural development."

With the exception of the proposed mega performance venue and the exhibition center, the financial advisers estimated a HK$7 billion deficit for the 15 arts facilities.

"We have to tell everybody the plain truth - most of your facilities will be losing money for years. You will never recover your capital, and only two venues' operational costs will break even or make money, and then what do you do?"

Arculli noted that most overseas arts and cultural facilities are loss-making and need significant public subsidies. He said the cost-recovery rate for Centre Pompidou in Paris was only 27 percent while that of the Museum of Modern Art in New York was 54 percent.

With extensive experience in both politics and finance, Arculli, who is also an executive councillor and chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, indicated that for the huge project to proceed, an upfront financial commitment of HK$19.2 billion is needed to ensure stable development.

Another advisory group - the Performing Arts and Tourism Advisory group - said the West Kowloon site must draw people other than art buffs.

It said one way to do so would be to link the arts facilities with a variety of retail, dining and entertainment venues, using the revenue generated to subsidize the arts facilities.

One of the the top attractions is expected to be the museum M+.

Its estimated deficit of HK$4.7 billion over a 50-year period will be bigger than the capital cost of HK$3.79 billion, with operational expenditure expected to be HK$308 million a year.

To save operating and construction costs, Arculli said the group has already scaled down the net operating floor area of both performing arts venues as well as the museum.

Arculli said most people seemed to have missed the significance of the regional express railway's terminus at the West Kowloon site.

The railway is expected to bring in loads of mainland visitors, particularly from Guangdong, he said.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 09:41 PM   #392
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Old September 18th, 2007, 09:45 PM   #393
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HK should work with West Kowloon as the main railway entry point into the SAR. That would make it successful, as the immense passenger flow in and out of the area would ensure deep exposure to the community.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 10:09 PM   #394
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HK should work with West Kowloon as the main railway entry point into the SAR. That would make it successful, as the immense passenger flow in and out of the area would ensure deep exposure to the community.
The proposed HK-GZ Express Train station is going to be there according to the HK Government to serve the function you described.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 02:59 AM   #395
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HK should work with West Kowloon as the main railway entry point into the SAR. That would make it successful, as the immense passenger flow in and out of the area would ensure deep exposure to the community.
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The proposed HK-GZ Express Train station is going to be there according to the HK Government to serve the function you described.
Not just the HK-SZ-GZ Express Train, but also the Tung Chung Line and the extension of the West Rail as well.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 03:23 PM   #396
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Not just the HK-SZ-GZ Express Train, but also the Tung Chung Line and the extension of the West Rail as well.
Tung Chung Line and Airport Express are fixed at Kowloon Station; West Rail Extension is having a station at Canton Road and Wui Cheung Rd where the bus terminus is. The two will be interconnected.

By having the express train station at WKCD, I am sure this will interconnect with the other three local rails, too. It's just on the other side of the street.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 04:56 PM   #397
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Tung Chung Line and Airport Express are fixed at Kowloon Station; West Rail Extension is having a station at Canton Road and Wui Cheung Rd where the bus terminus is. The two will be interconnected.

By having the express train station at WKCD, I am sure this will interconnect with the other three local rails, too. It's just on the other side of the street.
It's just a waste of such a prime location
It's a lot better to be a new CBD instead of cultural facilities.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 05:07 PM   #398
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It's just a waste of such a prime location
It's a lot better to be a new CBD instead of cultural facilities.
The rail stations are going to be underground for sure; so it isn't going to affect what is above ground.

I think you mean the WKCD is a "waste," but HK is really lack of those quality cultural facilities overall when you compare to other international cities around the world like New York and London, even Beijing.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 07:13 PM   #399
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It's just a waste of such a prime location
It's a lot better to be a new CBD instead of cultural facilities.
Actually, a new CBD alternate is rising at Union Square already, so the WKCD will complement the offices, hotels, and luxury residentials nearby.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 08:02 PM   #400
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Missing ingredient For West Kowloon to succeed, Hong Kong must realise the value of artistic pursuits
20 September 2007
South China Morning Post

The West Kowloon Cultural District project will be, among other things, a great catalyst for the Hong Kong arts scene. It will make the arts part of the city's development plan, which is a brand-new perspective for Hong Kong - putting the arts at the centre of the stage for the next phase of the city's development. For the cultural district to be a success, therefore, our overall perspective of the arts has to be reconciled with the one for West Kowloon.

The most challenging task, especially with regard to the "software" part - that is, the artistic content - hinges on how far these perspectives can be adjusted. That's because practically, without the following changes at the basic level, we will just be going round in circles.

First, talking to arts groups, it is clear that the number of qualified arts practitioners - performers and administrators - has decreased. Some have left for greener pastures outside the arts field, and others are reluctant to even enter the profession. It is therefore becoming more difficult to recruit the right person for the stage, as well as for the office.

The one glaring reason is people's general perspective towards the arts profession in this city. Even today, most Hong Kong families, if given a choice, are happier if their children end up in "proper" commercial office jobs. The term "professional" may apply to doctors, lawyers, accountants and architects, but does not really have the same meaning in phrases like "professional dancer" and "professional musician".

For West Kowloon to be sustainable, there must be an abundance of high-quality artists and administrators. Audiences will come if the artists and administrators are good. To attract people into the field, the status of arts practitioners must be elevated. They must be seen by the general public as working in a respected profession - and hopefully they will also have a career path.

The only way for this to happen in Hong Kong is to elevate the practitioners' worth in the job market to a level at least comparable with that of the commercial world. That way, children will not be discouraged from developing their talents, schools will design their curriculums accordingly and society will be less biased towards finance and commerce.

Second, the government is subventing some major performing arts groups because they have proved that they deserve the sponsorship. The government should, therefore, view them as assets that it has invested in, because the fruit they bear will contribute to the artistic vibrancy and creativity of society.

Arts groups have the ability to support and engage arts practitioners - to combine creative souls and administrative brains. As organisations dedicated to the arts, they attract dedicated experts who want to make a living in the arts. As the government invests in such organisations, it should be creating a special relationship with them built on trust and respect.

There are proposals to build 12 to 15 performing-arts venues in the cultural district. Thus, it would be in the interests of the government and the future West Kowloon authority to join with the subvented professional performing-arts groups on the venues' strategic development. This is a logical progression as well as a financially sensible solution. As with venues in other "world cities", the programmes should be overseen by people involved directly in the arts. A venue without an artistic vision is a venue without a soul and, in the long run, it runs the risk of becoming just a place for random rental.

Third, in the announcements about the West Kowloon district, the information about the hardware seems out of proportion with that on the software. There is even detailed information on which building should be iconic! Perhaps this is because the hardware part is easier to understand and measure.

Without the software, however, the iconic structures will be, at best, mere shells. It is, therefore, important to flesh out blueprints for the government's financial commitment on the artistic content, and the actual timetable for implementing plans to improve this content.

Twenty years ago, my family and friends tried to dissuade me from becoming an arts administrator. Today, the basic values in Hong Kong have not changed: the arts are still seen as not worth the effort. Changing such thinking is the biggest challenge facing the arts district.

Margaret Yang is chief executive officer of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta Limited
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