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Old July 22nd, 2009, 07:04 PM   #121
hkskyline
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尖咀設高限 建摩廈機會降
23 June 2009
香港經濟日報

市民環保意識日益高漲,在反對屏風樓聲音下,政府續於各區設下建築物高度限制,相信未來尖沙咀一帶,能出現如河內道項目高度的摩天住宅的機會,大大降低。

於尖沙咀、紅磡一帶,雖然已有數個項目準備發展,但在高度限制下,日後批建摩天住宅的機會較渺茫。就以位於紅磡灣填海區的D1地盤為例,其高度限制已設於主水平基準以上100米。

然而,資料顯示,未來區內仍有個別商廈及酒店項目,其高度有望與河內道看齊。當中,早前獲屋宇署批准重建成63層商廈的新世界中心,其高度就與河內道看齊。另外,海港城港威3期重建項目,獲批建一幢96層高商廈及酒店,更有望成為繼九龍站環球貿易廣場(ICC)、國金2期(IFC)後,全港第3 高的建築物。
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Old July 27th, 2009, 01:08 PM   #122
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Besides Hong Kong, are there any other cities in the world with skyscraper walls? I know Caracas has two of them near the Parque Central twin towers.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 08:07 PM   #123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim856796 View Post
Besides Hong Kong, are there any other cities in the world with skyscraper walls? I know Caracas has two of them near the Parque Central twin towers.
New York does - but they have setback requirements to allow sunlight to reach the street level.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 08:33 PM   #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim856796 View Post
Besides Hong Kong, are there any other cities in the world with skyscraper walls? I know Caracas has two of them near the Parque Central twin towers.
Israel has some too.
I'm from Haifa and we have 3 or 4.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 08:38 PM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
New York does - but they have setback requirements to allow sunlight to reach the street level.
Hong Kong used to have the same requirement, too. That's why Charter Bank has a stepped top; and some of the old buildings have the angled as well.
But don't know what has happened to that requirement, and seem nobody has to deal with it anymore.

Then New York, or Manhattan, has that street grid layout allowing air/wind to flow along the avenues/streets from one side to the other without obstruction from shore to shore. No matter what, redevelopments in Manhattan still occur within the existing square block maintaining the open grid system. However, the new giant lots in HK have destroyed that nice grid system we used to have. Podiums and high towers above have become the termini of many small streets, surrounding the old neighbourhood in the dark.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 07:03 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
Hong Kong used to have the same requirement, too. That's why Charter Bank has a stepped top; and some of the old buildings have the angled as well.
But don't know what has happened to that requirement, and seem nobody has to deal with it anymore.

Then New York, or Manhattan, has that street grid layout allowing air/wind to flow along the avenues/streets from one side to the other without obstruction from shore to shore. No matter what, redevelopments in Manhattan still occur within the existing square block maintaining the open grid system. However, the new giant lots in HK have destroyed that nice grid system we used to have. Podiums and high towers above have become the termini of many small streets, surrounding the old neighbourhood in the dark.
Wow .. wonder how HK's requirements disappeared. But even for New York, would the avenues and streets be wide enough to ventilate the city?
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Old July 28th, 2009, 07:27 PM   #127
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Wow .. wonder how HK's requirements disappeared. But even for New York, would the avenues and streets be wide enough to ventilate the city?
Probably, money talks again.

The avenue and some of the major streets definitely do in Manhattan.
I was walking on 43rd St and 9th Ave (three blocks from the shore) last weekend, the wind was blowing like crazy.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 10:12 PM   #128
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I think this is another good example in To Kwa Wan district :









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Old July 31st, 2009, 10:45 PM   #129
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private funding

Does anyone have any information about projects that need funding? It can either be troubled projects or proposed projects.

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Old August 1st, 2009, 01:07 AM   #130
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 12:56 PM   #131
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TST towers skewer new height limits
23 August 2009
SCMP

The Tsim Sha Tsui skyline, which has been thrusting higher since the closure of Kai Tak airport more than 10 years ago ended height restrictions in its former flight path, could be studded with more big skyscrapers despite new curbs imposed last year.

Conservationists blame a failure of town planning that saw several projects approved before zoning rules came in that cap waterfront building heights at 80 metres. These towers could be more than three times that tall; one developer has permission to go as high as 386 metres.

The Kowloon peninsula will continue to be dominated by the 484-metre International Commerce Centre, built on reclaimed land in West Kowloon, and surrounding buildings. But in the bustling, congested commercial district next door, several tall towers are being built. One, the 250-metre The Masterpiece, opened its 59th floor show flat to VIPs yesterday. Flats in the block in Hanoi Road sell for HK$22,000 per square foot.

Mary Melville, who has lived in Tsim Sha Tsui for 20 years, is not impressed. "This building is just too tall. A public street, Cornwall Avenue, disappeared as a result of the project and people moved out. The public space we get in return is a covered passageway between shops with a few potted plants and half a dozen seats," the 62-year-old said.

Prospective buyer Lau Kwok-sing is attracted to The Masterpiece because it is taller than most buildings in the district. The 52-year-old, who works in the jewellery trade, plans to buy an 800 sq ft flat as an investment.

Property agents expect the tower to be popular with buyers from over the border. "This kind of luxury building is not targeting people on the street but loaded buyers, mostly from the mainland," said Irene Chan, account manager at Midland Realty.

The Masterpiece was jointly developed by the Urban Renewal Authority and New World Development, which also has permission to redevelop the New World Centre on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. The new building could be even taller than The Masterpiece, at 265 metres. Meanwhile, Chinese Estates is building The One, a 160-metre tower on the site of the Tung Ying Building in Nathan Road.

But Wharf Holdings could trump both if it redevelops part of Harbour City. Plans approved 10 years ago allow a hotel/office tower of up to 386.7 metres, or 96 storeys.

All these towers were approved after the closure of the airport in 1998 but before town planners agreed on zoning amendments last year.

"Who has benefited from these gap years?" asked Albert Lai Kwong-tak, chairman of lobby group The Professional Commons. "The government must have known Kai Tak airport was going to move before 1997. How come it took so long to impose height restrictions?"

The zoning plan, with its limits on building height, was changed in response to a public outcry against the construction of massive, wall-like developments that disrupt air flow and block sunlight for surrounding buildings. The changes limit building heights in the West Kowloon Cultural District and Tsim Sha Tsui to between 50 metres and 95 metres. But the changes came years too late to prevent the construction of towers such as The Masterpiece.

"I am sure this building, which has created a wall effect with its tall and flat shape, would not get approval from the Town Planning Board nowadays," said Roy Tam Hoi-pong, president of environmental group Green Sense. "It is just like two football fields standing on end. It blocks the Kowloon ridge line when viewed from Hong Kong Island."

Three years ago, the Town Planning Board expressed concern at the trend for taller and wider buildings, saying they blocked neighbours' views, sunlight and air flow.

The Urban Renewal Authority said the public had been consulted about The Masterpiece.

District councillor Lam Ho-yeung is worried about the impact of such buildings on Tsim Sha Tsui. "I have no idea how the traffic is going to cope with these skyscrapers," he said.

The New World Centre redevelopment will see the office tower and shopping mall turned into a hotel around 70 storeys high. New World Development settled the land premium for the project with the government in 1998, but it was put off because of property market downturns and held up by negotiations on the terms of the land lease. The developer has now cleared all formalities.

A spokeswoman for Wharf Holdings said it had not decided when to begin redeveloping the Ocean Centre at Harbour City. A New World spokesman has previously said the company plans to begin redeveloping the New World Centre this year.
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 11:49 AM   #132
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Builders in rush to beat new rules
Developers seeking quick project approvals before stricter density and height limits

23 September 2009
South China Morning Post

Developers are in a race to win approval for ambitious building projects before the government resumes a campaign to lock in tighter planning restrictions over building heights and densities.

Opinions on tighter development controls differ widely and an accelerated campaign by the government last year that saw stricter controls introduced in 13 districts won wide applause from green groups and the general public who are opposed to raising building density in Hong Kong, already one of the world's most densely populated cities.

But the campaign, aimed chiefly at setting limits to building heights and plot densities to ensure adequate air flow and sunlight for surrounding buildings, also unleashed a flood of objections from developers and homeowners.

Wong Nai Chung was among the most controversial cases, triggering 441 objections and putting the brakes on the policy. As a result, only Chek Lap Kok, Mid-Levels East and Ma On Shan have had building height restrictions imposed so far this year.

The slowdown provided a window of opportunity for developers to push through individual approvals before the government tightened district-wide controls, said a surveyor.

Dennis Law Sau-yiu, the managing director of small development company Yu Tai Hing, said: "The private sector can't do much about the policy. We can only try to get approvals for the building plans of our projects as soon as possible before the government imposes development controls."

Where district-wide restrictions have not yet been spelled out in an outline zoning plan, individual approvals may be secured from the Buildings Department. Swire Properties is among those that found this way to avoid height restrictions.

It won approval from the Buildings Department in 2007 for a redevelopment project at 25-35 Seymour Road in Mid-Levels to build a 52-storey residential building. A year later, under an outline zoning plan, the Planning Department issued a directive that would have restricted Swire to constructing a 30-storey building on the site. But armed with its approval from the Buildings Department, it escaped this provision.

But this route was not available on all sites, Law said. "We cannot be sure in the beginning about how many old buildings we may acquire and how big the site may be. So how can I produce a building plan? And if I wait until I have acquired sufficient development sites before I apply for a building plan, the government may have imposed development controls by the time I am ready," he said.

Edwin Leong, the managing director of another developer, Tai Hung Fai Enterprise, agreed that trying to rush building plans through the approval process with the Buildings Department was the only way to beat the tide of tighter controls. But this would not be easy, he added.

"It is difficult to acquire development sites in an urban area. Acquiring old buildings is one of the ways for developers to replenish their land banks. But securing a sufficient number of units in old buildings is a painful process and then we may still have to face tighter development controls when we finish," Leong said.

Meanwhile, both developers and the government must deal with the mounting opposition to high-density housing projects from the public and green groups.

MTR Corp faced the wrath of action group Green Sense when it invited development tenders for its residential project at Che Kung Temple Station in Sha Tin last year. Green Sense said the project design would block air flow and views for existing residents in the area.

It also lobbied the Town Planning Board to reduce the development plot ratio of MTR's Tsuen Wan project from five to three and the number of towers from seven to four last year.

Neither of the objections was upheld, but they provided the MTR with a foretaste of the mounting opposition to high-density living in Hong Kong and this year it hastened to secure approvals from the Buildings Department for three other development projects already on the drawing board and not yet subject to outline zoning plans.

The rising density of Hong Kong's residential towers prompted Katty Law Kar-ling, who has lived in Mid-Levels for 30 years, to set up the Central and Western Concern Group with several neighbours in 2005 after the government put the former Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters on the land application list.

"A lot of tall buildings have been built in the district over the last 10 years. The redevelopment projects blocked views and worsened traffic jams. We believe the government should keep the former quarters for community use rather than residential use. The district lacks open space," she said.

Other residents, however, are more concerned about higher values for their old apartments.

Alex Lo, a resident of an old building at Seymour Road, received an offer from a developer to buy his flat for HK$11,000 per square foot last year. While he and other residents were considering the deal, the government imposed a height limit on the site. "We haven't heard another word from the developer and the market price of my flat is HK$6,300 per square foot only," Lo said.
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Old October 14th, 2009, 05:15 AM   #133
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Mapping team acts to turn down the city heat
6 October 2009
SCMP

Developers are being urged to undo the damage they have done to residents' quality of life by acting to curb the "heat island" effect that has made parts of Hong Kong up to five degrees hotter than people can comfortably tolerate.

A government team has drawn up the city's first climatic map - derived from a four-year study commissioned by the Planning Department in 2006 - that highlights a dozen densely populated urban areas as hot spots.

They are Sheung Wan, Central, Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, North Point, Tsim Sha Tsui, Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong, Sham Shui Po, Mong Kok, Lai Chi Kok and Tseung Kwan O.

"These areas are five degrees Celsius higher compared with an environment offering people thermal comfort," Professor Edward Ng Yan-yung from Chinese University, who led the study team, said.

As well as looking at the air temperature of each district, the map takes into account the development density, topography, wind velocity, humidity, radiation and human activities of each area to calculate the "physiological equivalent temperatures", which measure thermal comfort - conditions in which humans neither feel too hot nor too cold.

While environmentalists have warned for years about the heat effects of high, wall-like buildings and destruction of urban greenery, Ng points to two new developments that are likely to make Tsim Sha Tsui even hotter.

"The building of The Masterpiece [a residential high-rise] alone will add one to two degrees Celsius to the district," Ng said. "It's not about its height but its large podium blocking the airflow."

He said the removal of a grassy, tree-shaded hill inside the former marine police headquarters - a once-green oasis at the tip of Tsim Sha Tsui now redeveloped as Heritage 1881 - was also expected to raise the temperature in the district.

He urged the government to protect other sites along the city's breezeways - open areas that channel wind flow - from massive developments on new rail lines that threaten to turn them into hot spots, too. They include Kowloon City, Ma Tau Kok, West Kowloon, Shek Kip Mei, Kwun Tong industrial centre, Kennedy Town, Wong Chuk Hang and waterfront areas of Tseung Kwan O.

Apart from protecting the breezeways, developers should also reduce their projects' impact on the wind flow, the study team that produced the draft map said.

The team said this could be done by including a minimum of 30 per cent green areas in new developments, using building materials that absorb less heat and are therefore cooler, and requiring shaded areas and building-free zones in hot spots.

"What happened to Tsuen Wan and Nam Cheong are mistakes," Ng said, referring to wall-like buildings proposed above Tsuen Wan and Nam Cheong stations. "The proposed developments there are unsustainable in the long run and building air-conditioned malls is not a solution to the heat island effect," he said.

A Planning Department spokeswoman said the map drawn up by the consultants would be refined with more experts' views and the department would consult the public when the study's recommendations were released next year.

New building and planning rules to restrict development designs have been proposed by the Council for Sustainable Development, which is holding a public consultation due to end this month.

Under the proposal, developers could be asked to leave wider pedestrian streets and be banned from building podium structures. But whether to implement it by law or with incentives is still subject to heated debate among interested parties, and no timetable has been set.

In Germany, federal building law states that developments must not worsen the environment. The country drew up a climatic map in the 1980s and a team of experts was hired to advise planners on development scales and designs.

Tokyo started a similar initiative in 2002. The government is planning to demolish overpacked building blocks along Kanni Road to bring sea breezes back to the city centre.

The chairman of the Professional Green Building Council, Wong Kam-sing, said the study offered useful data for refining the city's planning rules. He said the labelling scheme for green buildings would be revamped in November.

The government and developers wanting to certify their developments as environmentally-friendly will have to conduct air ventilation studies to demonstrate they have no or little impact on wind environment.

"The result of the air ventilation study will become an influential factor in the new scheme of assessment," he said. Developments' impact on wind environment only accounts for two of 110 points under the current scheme.

The administration pledged in May that all newly built government buildings with a floor area of more than 10,000 square metres would be certified.

Wong said it was not necessarily costly to design a cool environment. "You can just do it simply by using light-coloured paint and tiles," he said, adding that the city showed its insensitivity by constructing buildings in dark colours and using asphalt to pave roads.

"You can see the wit of Greece, where many houses are built in white," he said.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 07:27 AM   #134
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Resuming the question about other cities having skyscraper walls, the only real skyscraper walls outside Hong Kong are those 400-feet residential towers around the Parque Central Towers.
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Old November 4th, 2009, 04:12 PM   #135
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LCQ14: Handling of planning applications for developments which may create wall effect
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Kam Nai-wai and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (November 4):

Question:

Members of the public have expressed grave concern about the wall effect created by development projects in recent years. Recently, the development project at King Wah Road, North Point, has aroused objection from quite a number of residents and organisations in North Point district due to its possible wall effect. Moreover, urban development density, the opinions provided by the Planning Department (PlanD) to the Town Planning Board (TPB) and the various assessment reports submitted by the developers concerned in respect of their planning applications have also caused considerable repercussions among members of the public. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) given that I have proposed that the Government should study the option of transfer of plot ratio, whereby developers are allowed to transfer their approved gross floor areas to be developed in urban areas to other relatively remote areas, so as to balance development densities, whether the Government has studied such an option; if so, of the study result; if not, whether it will consider conducting the study;

(b) whether PlanD had, in the past five years, provided opinions concerning planning applications for development projects to TPB in accordance with the guideline in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guideline (HKPSG) that "taller buildings should be located inland, with lower developments on the waterfront, to avoid dominating the harbour and increase permeability to the waterbody", and whether it had requested TPB to follow that guideline; if not, whether it had assessed if HKPSG would be degraded to a "window-dressing policy"; and

(c) whether the Government will consider providing financial support to the organisations concerned for conducting traffic impact assessments and air flow assessments in respect of development projects, with a view to obtaining clearer and more impartial assessment results?

Reply:

President,

(a) Given Hong Kong's precious land resources and the huge difference in land value between various regions, it is very difficult to implement the concept of "transfer of plot ratio", which could also cause grave public concern. In view of this, "transfer of plot ratio" is only applicable under the heritage conservation policy endorsed by the Executive Council in 2007 in a limited way on a case-by-case basis. We have no plan to extend the practice of "transfer of plot ratio" to other policy areas.

(b) In accordance with the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG), the planning standards and guidelines should be applied with a certain degree of flexibility, having regard to factors such as land use demand, local conditions, development constraints, etc. They should not be applied in isolation and cross-reference between standards and guidelines should be made whenever necessary.

The Urban Design Guidelines in the HKPSG include the design guidelines for waterfront sites. With respect to building height along the waterfront, the relevant guidelines mainly cover three aspects, namely, that "taller buildings should be located inland, with lower developments on the waterfront", "diversity in building mass should be encouraged to avoid a monotonous harbour image", and "a varying building height profile should be created".

Since the formulation of the above guidelines in 2003, the Planning Department (PlanD), when processing relevant planning applications, will refer overall to these principles and advise the Town Planning Board (TPB) on such principles and other relevant urban design considerations, so that TPB can consider them along with other relevant planning considerations. As stated in the Urban Design Guidelines, it is essential that any urban design concept has to be specifically tailored to meet development needs. The urban design guidelines should hence not be over-restrictive and prescriptive, but encourage innovative design. TPB is well aware of these principles.

(c) Under the existing practice, planning applications and all relevant professional impact assessments submitted by applicants are forwarded to the professional government departments concerned. In making their professional and objective comments, the departments concerned will consider these impact assessments, and examine whether the proposed development will cause any obvious adverse impact, such as in terms of traffic or air ventilation, on the environment of the application site on the basis of their own statistics and professional analyses. The professional comments and recommendations made by these departments will be included in the set of planning application documents for TPB's consideration. Where necessary, representatives from the departments concerned will be invited to attend TPB meetings to give their views and answer members' inquiries about the impact assessments submitted by applicants.

The above mechanism ensures that TPB is able to obtain clear and impartial professional comments. We do not consider it necessary for the Government to offer financial support to organisations concerned to conduct impact assessments.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 05:04 PM   #136
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Opinion : We must aim for buildings that are more environment-friendly
30 September 2009
SCMP

The globe is getting hotter and we are like the proverbial frog sitting in the boiling pot until it is too late.

When is the Hong Kong government going to get serious about this threat? Our electricity companies are churning out more pollution just to keep up with air-conditioning demands. Yet we see large store fronts wide open, allowing the cool air to flow outside. What are these store managers doing trying to cool the streets?

The Legislative Council should long ago have passed a law forbidding building owners from operating air-conditioners when the doors of the building are open.

Electricity consumption is directly linked to pollution and carbon dioxide emissions so we must now set a cap on its production.

It is high time that a yearly target for reductions of 2 or 3 per cent is mandated so that people will begin using less and paying more. The revenues from a higher tariff should then be invested in environmentally beneficial projects.

One immediate requirement is to subsidise the installation of solar hot-water heaters on suitable buildings. Why is Hong Kong so far behind other cities in hot climates in this regard? Anyone who visits Israel is impressed by the abundant use of such energy-saving devices.

Many cars are provided with sun roofs. These should not be sold in Hong Kong because they require excessive air-conditioning on sunny days.

Architectural firms and departments of our universities should be advised that all future buildings must be certified to be environmentally sound before they can be approved for construction. No more glass houses, no more "wall effect" or "power gluttons".

It should be clear to all of us by now that the environmental crisis is also a political crisis, because it exposes how citizens and governments have lost power over events. The power has been assumed by corporations which control the globe's resources and set our priorities.

If even a centralised administration like communist China cannot preserve its environment, what hope does our corporate-dominated world have? Kyoto protocols, a Copenhagen environment summit? Forget it. Fellow Hong Kong frogs, the pot is going to get hotter, so enjoy the heat.

J. Garner, Sham Shui Po
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Old November 29th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #137
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New body to revamp green ratings for buildings
16 November 2009
South China Morning Post

A government-backed Green Building Council will open on Friday in a bid to steer the local market in a more environmentally friendly direction and create more green business opportunities.

On the day it is established, the council is expected to announce details of a new green-building rating scheme designed for the whole region, and a set of more stringent energy codes to reduce the carbon footprint of new and existing buildings.

The council is an independent body but is expected to be influential, as its board includes not only professionals but the statutory Construction Industry Council, which will provide its major funding.

Other board members include representatives from the Business Environment Council and the Beam Society, which formulated the city's first green-building rating scheme, the building environmental assessment method.

The council is expected to cater to increasing demand from multinational companies seeking certified green offices. The demand for green materials and qualified professionals to certify and improve buildings' environmental performance is also expected to rise if the local market is successfully transformed.

"We look forward to the public sector taking the lead in implementing higher standards, thereby helping to spur the private sector on," said the newly elected council chairman, Dr Andrew Chan Ka-ching, who also represents the Construction Industry Council.

The development and environment bureaus issued a circular in April requiring all new government buildings with a floor area of more than 10,000 square metres to be certified, and they must meet at least the second-highest certification standard of the local or US rating scheme.

But a council board member and honorary architecture professor at Chinese University, Chan Ping-cheung, said the market transformation would be more effective if the government moved into certified offices.

Chan said the council was revamping the local green-building rating scheme - the world's second rating scheme, set up in 1996 after Britain. It was criticised for not taking into account the buildings' impact on the city's air flow.

About 406 buildings have been certified under the scheme, which assesses their performance in terms of energy, water, waste and transportation.

But some buildings that received an "excellent" rating contribute to the wall effect, which blocks air flow.

Chan pledged that the revamped rating scheme, to be called Beam Plus, would have world-class standards and require developers to conduct air flow assessments.

Local and overseas experience shows a green building will cost an extra 2 to 3 per cent of the total construction cost but can reduce the building's energy consumption by 20 per cent or more. A survey by global real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle last summer found the local market was slow to develop and only 40 per cent of the 80 responding tenants said they would pay higher rents for a greener office.

But Swire Properties said it saw a potential market for green offices in Hong Kong and on the mainland.

A Swire spokeswoman said its international office tenants were seeking environmentally responsible buildings.
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Old February 11th, 2010, 05:06 PM   #138
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MTR alters Tai Wai project to cut wall effect
19 December 2009
South China Morning Post

The MTR Corporation has taken note of public opposition to wall-like developments and revised the design of residential high-rises it will build on top of Tai Wai station on the East Rail Line in Sha Tin.

The Town Planning Board granted approval yesterday but questioned a 27 per cent increase in car parking to 411 spaces. This will increase the size of the podium, blocking sunlight and air flow. The board said the development was already convenient for residents as it was on top of a mass transit system.

The development, comprising eight residential blocks of about 50 storeys, was criticised by the public for being too visually intrusive. Residents in the area fear the massive development will dwarf the group of tenement buildings behind the station and block air flow.

Another residential development by the MTR Corp, comprising 12 high-rises of about 50 storeys, has already been built above the Tai Wai depot next to Tai Wai station. This has been named Festival City and flats will be sold for more than HK$10,000 per sq ft.

Under the latest plan submitted to the Town Planning Board, the MTR Corp will introduce gaps between the blocks - the largest being 50 metres wide between tower three and tower four.

The podium edge near the Shing Mun River channel will be set back by about 15 metres to allow a wider landscape promenade. A pedestrian piazza with some greening is also proposed for public enjoyment.

However, the addition of 88 car spaces adds a storey to the podium.

An area in the podium reserved for a post-secondary college will be increased from 10,530 square metres to 15,000 square metres. The MTR Corp said this was in response to a request from the Education Bureau.

The development is expected to provide 2,900 flats and a commercial area of about 62,000 square metres.

"Festival City is already a disaster to residents living in the neighbourhood," Sha Tin district councillor and Civil Force convenor Ho Hau-cheung said. "Another massive development will affect the quality of life of those living in the tenement buildings behind it."

Ho said the community needed a library and air-conditioned market instead of a post-secondary college. He criticised the government for not consulting the public.

A Town Planning Board spokeswoman said the board had concerns about the increase in parking spaces and the Transport Department had the right to review the number of spaces when assessing the transport impact of the development. The project has not yet been tendered to developers and there is no timetable.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 07:29 PM   #139
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Plug loopholes before policy change, greens urge
1 March 2010
South China Morning Post

A green group has warned that approval of a proposal to make it easier for developers to acquire old buildings will open a Pandora's box.

Green Sense called for the plan to be delayed until town planning measures had been reviewed to plug loopholes that could be abused to develop tall and bulky buildings in old districts. The group estimates there could be as many as 735 high-rise and bulky blocks in old areas in 10 years, creating a wall effect, if the proposed changes get the go-ahead.

The proposed amendment to land resumption laws would allow a developer to force homeowners to surrender their flats if it acquires 80 per cent of the properties, compared to the present 90 per cent threshold.

The change will apply to three types of buildings - those with all properties but one acquired, buildings older than 50 years, and industrial buildings more than 30 years old not in an industrial zone.

Such groups as the Institute of Surveyors, Construction Association and Real Estate Developers Association support the idea.

Green Sense president Roy Tam Hoi-pong warned: "It would give unrestricted power to developers to build tall and bulky buildings, unless we have comprehensive town planning measures in place." The government is reviewing the practice of granting developers extra floor space for so-called green features such as balconies and utility platforms. Critics say they abuse this to build taller and bulkier buildings.

A separate review is being conducted of planning guidelines to reduce the number of parking spaces at private residential estates, often built directly under the residential blocks and also blamed for tall and bulky buildings.

Tam estimated there would be about 7,350 blocks older than 50 years by 2019.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 10:09 AM   #140
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Concerns over big MTR Corp housing estate
25 May 2010
South China Morning Post

The government and the MTR Corporation are proposing to build 4,700 private residential flats on the site of the former public Wong Chuk Hang Estate, but the project's proposed building height has been opposed by district councillors there.

At the Southern District Council meeting yesterday, the MTR Corp's senior town planning manager, Rebecca Wong Chun-wun, told councillors that the corporation planned to construct 14 residential buildings on the 7.2-hectare site.

The flats will be an average of about 820 sq ft, the majority of them small to medium-sized units and 20 per cent sized about 540 sq ft.

The suggested building height was between 120 metres and 156 metres above sea level.

"Eight of the buildings will be taller than 140 metres, which will be higher than all of the buildings in Wong Chuk Hang {hellip} and exceed the height restriction of 120 metres to 140 metres," district councillor Tsui Yuen-wa said, voicing his concern about the project creating a wall effect in the district.

He was joined by other councillors who also questioned if the development plan would cause travel congestion in the area.

The proposed project will also include a railway station on the South Island Line, which is expected to be completed in 2015, a public transport interchange, a railway depot and a shopping centre with a gross floor area of 505,908 sq ft.

With a total gross floor area of 3,848,130 sq ft for residential use, the plot ratio will be 4.98, lower than the average of five to 10 times in the district, which is in the southern part of Hong Kong Island.

The plot ratio for non-residential areas is set at 1.7.

Maisie Cheng Mei-sze, deputy secretary for transport and housing, said four of the towers located near Brick Hill (also known as Nam Long Shan) would be higher and those nearer the sea would be shorter as it would look better if the buildings were not of the same height.

Cheng added that the apartments would house about 15,000 people.

Noting that the first batch of residential flats would only be available in 2018, Steve Yiu Chin, MTR Corp's head of town planning, said that a certain number of residents would be needed to support the railway line.

The councillors also hoped the project would also include public facilities, such as a large theatre and a swimming pool, for all residents of Southern District.

Most former residents were rehoused at Shek Pai Wan Estate.
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