Story of the Month - September 2016

Story of the Month - September 2016


"Hong Kong Futures: a dialogue" workshop


As the first step of our collaborative research with Arup to envision a smart green resilient Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Futures workshop was successfully held on 10th September 2016 at CUHK. In spite of the rainy weather on that day, a large group of participants from different occupations and generations gathered at the AIT Building, home of CUHK’s architecture school, to join the dialogue and share their knowledge and vision of Hong Kong futures. 




Mr. Wilfred Lau, director of Arup, giving an opening speech 




Following Mr. Wilfred Lau’s introduction speech, Prof. Mee Kam Ng addressed the audience in her presentation, “From The City We Need to the New Urban Agenda”, introducing the outcomes from previous discussions on Hong Kong’s future development at an Urban Thinker’ Campus (a World Urban Campaign event), to stimulate the audience to start drawing their own picture of city’s future in mind. It was followed by four simultaneous breakout sessions that allowed the participants to join a discussion on the topic of their own choice. The four themes – economy, people, built environment, natural environment – were thought to be essential for a smart green resilient future. 



Themes and facilitators of the workshop’s four breakout sessions




As one of the facilitators of the “People” session, Prof. Ng shared the ecological framework and the important role of people-oriented planning for human flourishing prior to the envisioning exercise. By asking three fundamental questions: “Where are we now?”, “Where do we want to be?”, and “How to get there?”, the participants all voiced their opinions during the discussion sessions, and raised a wide range of issues, such as, just to list a few, the design and use of public space, demographic change and immigration, innovation and culture. They agreed that a brighter future of the city would see people being the center of planning and policies. To achieve this goal, Hong Kong needs social infrastructure that facilitates human interaction and integration so that people can learn to cope with conflicts and reach agreements. 



Prof. Ng giving a presentation prior to the discussion at the “People” session




In the meantime, discussions at other sessions also resulted in fruitful outcomes. The participants reflected on Hong Kong’s experience and compared it with other parts of the world, digging into various subjects, for example, natural resources and landscapes, governance, connectivity, diversity, and adaptability. The outputs of this workshop had fed into the efforts by the World Urban Campaign, a multi-stakeholder and international platform to formulate and implement the New Urban Agenda finalized at Habitat III. The workshop was an inspiring and rewarding one, encouraging people from different backgrounds to sit together and exchange knowledge and ideas in the process. Collectively we are going to generate a vision of and contribute to Hong Kong’s sustainable future. We look forward to advancing this collaborative research based on the progress made at this workshop, and would like to invite you to also check out the Hong Kong Futures website and follow the unfolding events. 


[Click here to view other Story of the Month]