“Hong Kong 2030+” Submission Report

Author:: "Hong Kong 2030+" Consultation Task Force

 

China Real Estate Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong and International Chapter "Hong Kong 2030+" Submission Report

Recently, the Hong Kong SAR Government has updated "Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030" ("Hong Kong 2030+") on the foundations of “Hong Kong 2030: Planning Vision and Strategy” (“Hong Kong 2030”) promulgated in 2007. This comprehensive strategic study is to update the territorial development strategy to guide the city’s planning, land and infrastructure development, and the shaping of the built environment of Hong Kong beyond 2030. The Hong Kong 2030+ study represents the Government’s vision, planning objective, policy and strategy for the territory development of Hong Kong beyond 2030, and all of these are open for public engagement. After some very thoughtful discussions and joint efforts of various real estate professionals, our Chapter consolidates all the views into this proposal in support of the strategic planning of Hong Kong 2030+. We sincerely hope that the Government would study and adopt it.

This proposal contains two parts. The first part mainly focuses on the positioning of Hong Kong. Though not in great details, this part is very important. It is our wish to seek consensus among the Government and the community so that we may have a clearer direction in shaping the development strategy for Hong Kong. At the same time, this will also help the government better understand where we are coming from and avoid misunderstandings when considering subsequent recommendations and/or questions. Subsequently, we will lay out the bases of our recommendations, including talent planning, land planning as well as economic and legal planning. The second part is the relevant proposals and questions raised to the Government based on the above-mentioned areas.

Hong Kong 2030+ states clearly that the vision for Hong Kong is to be a liveable, competitive and sustainable “Asia’s World City”, with long-term sustainability as the principal focus of the plan. This has CRECCHKI's endorsement and support. Nevertheless, we hasten to add that solving the housing problem will be particularly critical. Before we address the core values of liveability and development, we must first address the housing issue. It is only when the housing needs of the people in Hong Kong are fulfilled that they may live and work happily, and that the society may grow harmoniously. In the following sections, we will add a few thoughts on the positioning of Hong Kong.

 

1. The positioning of Hong Kong should be a leading global metropolis

We believe Hong Kong should not limit itself to be just a “Leading Driver” for the neighbouring areas and the border region (Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area, ASEAN Free Trade Area), or a “Super-Connector” between the Mainland and other foreign countries (countries along the Belt and Road). Hong Kong has long been renowned for its unique and irreplaceable favourable conditions including business acumen, agile financial system, sound legal framework, free market policies, simple and low tax regime, abundance of talents and a high degree of globalization. In addition, Hong Kong has attracted and is managing a massive quantum of funds from all over the globe, giving it leading positions in numerous areas. Therefore, the future of Hong Kong should not only focus on the “Super-Connector” intermediary role. Rather its long-term position should be an international city that leads the world in many respects. For example, in handling investments to other parts of the world, we can play principal roles such as leader, co-investors, general partners, and managers, in providing different sources of funding and different financing channels (including IPO, private equity fund raising, etc.), as well as mediation and arbitration services. In the area of business development, we can build upon our role as the "springboard" linking the Mainland and the world in the past to become a "Resources Hub" for the world marketplace. In respect of cultural development and living, we should aim to become the point of convergence between East and West, of international cooperation, multi-cultural harmony as well as the linkage with global talents.

2. Hong Kong needs to be globalized like never before

For a long time, Hong Kong's position as an advanced international metropolis and financial centre has been an important foundation for its economic prosperity and development. Therefore, the only way for Hong Kong to continue to grow in the future is to be even more international than ever before. The future of Hong Kong lies in its ability to reinvent itself, at the forefront of globalization. While this is consistent with Hong Kong's historical and local needs, it is equally important to serve China's long-term interests.

3. Hong Kong needs to integrate creativity and innovation technologies to diversify its industry base

We should strive to uphold our existing competitive edge in various fields such as finance, trade, logistics and high-end service industries in order to make the most out of the rapid development of the Mainland economy and global development opportunities. We should also help our traditional industries transform through diversifications and by integrating creative and innovative technologies so that Hong Kong will be more competitive, and be resilient as always.

4. The future Hong Kong should be a beautiful, interesting and attractive city filled with happiness

Hong Kong is an advanced international metropolis and financial centre, and is ranked the world’s most competitive economy . Hong Kong people have the highest average IQ in the world. Nevertheless, Hong Kong‘s liveability is a cause for concern, with no improvement in its “Happiness Index” in the past 15 years. According to a study on ‘Bauhinia Well-being Index’ released by The Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre in October 2016, Hong Kong's cumulative growth in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita was 56.9%, whilst the BWI was up by 0.4% only over the past 15 years. That shows that economic prosperity has had no significant impact on people’s happiness. In 2016 Hong Kong tumbled to 75th in world happiness rankings, according to the United Nations "World Happiness Report 2017". It is the least happy among major countries and territories, far worse than Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Thailand. Hongkong people have strived hard with diligence and endurance, and embraced the Lion Rock spirit to build up the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong today. They deserve to be happy! We believe that while pushing economic development forward, we should not neglect Hong Kong people’s genuine needs. Our ultimate objective is to house all the people so that they can have a decent quality of living. Unfortunately, in recent years the number of people living in (illegal) sub-divided flats have increased rapidly to 200,000, and there are more than 280,000 applications waiting for public rental housing. The average waiting time for general applicants has grown to 4.7 years, with applicants who have waited for 6 years without getting an allotment. With the aim to giving the people a good life, we should strive to make Hong Kong a more international, diversified, beautiful, interesting, attractive and vibrant world-class livable city.

In order to achieve the above objectives, the followings are our recommendations and questions base on the three aspects: talent planning, land planning, and economic & legal planning.

 

A)  Talent Planning

The Government should have a strong people centric mindset to focus on nurturing and introduction of innovation and technology talents with international vision. At the same time, we should also focus on cultivating technical talents, give them appropriate and sufficient support.

In cultivating local young talents, the Government should improve the education system. It should not only focus on Arts and Commercial subjects at the expense of Mathematics, Science and Technology. More resources should be allocated to help young people discovering and developing their talents. Teaching students in accordance with their aptitude should be encouraged. Nowadays many young people and parents would only yearn for university study, but few would consider vocational and professional education provided by professional education institutes such as the Vocational Training Council. However, there are tremendous needs for all kinds of technical expertise/professions in various sectors. In light of the above, we recommend that the Government consider whether a variety of vocational training centres or technical training institutes should be set up. Alternatively, we may take reference of the German model for tertiary professional education by establishing universities that focus on vocational training and technical studies. Technical courses such as Engineering Maintenance, Building Information Model (BIM), Information Technology (IT), Electronics and Machinery (E & M), creative industries courses can be offered. In addition, the Government should increase subsidies and enhance all kinds of financial assistance schemes for adult education to encourage working people to pursue continuing studies. Determination and positive attitudes are virtues of Hong Kong people that need to be valued. We believe that if the Government could offer the right platforms, the people will engage their respective talents. By encouraging the people to pursue continuing learning and improvement, it will enhance their self-identity and sense of belonging. In time, Hong Kong can re-establish itself as a learning society again, thereby promoting sustained growth.

With regards to the import of quality migrants, the HKSAR government should review and enhance the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (the Scheme), to study whether more advantageous policies could be adopted to attract talents from all over the world to start up businesses or to work in Hong Kong. We understand that in March 2016 the Shenzhen government introduced “Relevant Measures To Promote Talents Development As A Priority”, that offers housing and rental subsidies to qualified overseas talents, on top of existing tax subsidies and financial support for business start-ups. That further enhances the policy of recruiting quality personnel. If Hong Kong should fail to adjust its pace and introduce the right policies timely, not only will it miss the opportunity of attracting overseas talents but it could also lead to the loss of locally trained innovation and technology talents. If the situation persists Hong Kong could well see its competitive edge eroded over time.

Furthermore, our Chapter is also concerned about the Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents (the Scheme). The original purpose of the Scheme was to attract those young people with overseas tertiary education, and are more connected to Hong Kong, to return to Hong Kong. But currently the Scheme seems to have benefited the offspring’s of Chinese Hong Kong permanent residents only, i.e. limited to children of Chinese descent. That in fact is inconsistent with the positioning of Hong Kong as an international metropolis. If Hong Kong intends to be more globalized, and to retain its high level of competitiveness, it should welcome talents of any nationality, races, colours and cultural up-bringing and people with international perspectives to work in Hong Kong. The talent planning policies and targets must not be limited to second generation overseas Chinese or professionals from the Mainland. Therefore, we recommend that the Government implement without delay a new round of Second Generation scheme that does not impose any limits, opening our arms to the non-Chinese second generation global talents, sincerely inviting all talents with international perspectives to Hong Kong. More importantly, Hong Kong should maintain and safeguard the good principle of fairness, to treat locals and foreigners, Chinese and non-Chinese equally, offering people of different races the same opportunities. Only with that shall Hong Kong be reinforcing its status as a global advanced city, and moving to a leading position in the world in terms of globalization.

 

B)  Land Planning

I.  The development of East Lantau Metropolis (ELM) has been slow to start and faces a lot of constraints. The government should choose another location as CBD2.5 to solve the shortfalls of developable land.

According to “Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030”, ELM, will be created by reclaiming land around the waters between Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island to form a CBD3 with approximately 1,000 hectares of development land. The government’s intentions are good, but we are concerned that CBD3 is still in a preliminary stage of brainstorming. We understand the related planning and feasibility studies have not yet commenced. And the future development of CBD3 will involve number of limitations, in respect of ecology, environment, ocean, infrastructure, land use, etc. The development lead time will therefore be hard to predict. Why would the government not consider some other locations with relatively matured conditions and less resistance to development? CBD3 is a good idea, but it can hardly support the land supply in the short to medium term. Between CBD2 (Kowloon East) to CBD3, perhaps the Government could give some thoughts to developing a CBD2.5 in order to release the immediate pressure of land supply shortage? For instance, there are plenty of under-utilized brownfield land and abandoned agricultural land in the North East New Territories. These lands are geographically close to the Mainland. So why can they not be the CBD2.5 of Hong Kong? And also, could West New Territories, Hong Kong Island East, or even West Kowloon become another CBD2.5? Why would the government think that these locations are not suitable to be the CBD2.5? We hope that the government can present to the public an analysis on the pros and cons of the location selection, so that they may understand the whole process of decision making. At the same time, it would also allow the society an opportunity to engage and participate at a deeper level, paving the way for with more support and early consensus when it comes to implementing the policies.

We recommend the Government attach more importance to land use in the New Territories. Currently, trunk roads in the New Territories are grossly insufficient, and the inadequacy of other supporting infrastructures also hinders the development in the New Territories. The Government should speed up the creation of more job centres in the New Territories. Through the increasing, enhancing of infrastructural and community facilities, including the re-planning of transport, water supply, sewage, electricity supply, parks, schools, that will facilitate the integration with the adjoining areas and create conditions to encourage employment in the locality of people’s residence.

There is no concrete timetable for implementation in the development planning of Hong Kong 2030+. This Chapter thinks that a plan that bears no time table would be a mere paper-pushing exercise and will be unlikely to lead anywhere. The Government especially the Planning Department should proactively and expediently talk to different sectors of the community, and set up a definitive time table after collecting different opinions. It should also increase the transparency and engage the public at an early stage so that an early consensus may be reached to make it happen.

II.  The Government should expedite the transformation of urban land use to meet the development needs of the society

To increase land supply or to facilitate community development we propose that the Government should fast track the study of and push forward the transformation of the urban land use. It is hard to deny that there are ample urban lands that are not being efficiently used because of stringent and outdated land use restrictions. That has been severely impeding the diversification of the industry base of Hong Kong, leading to the under-utilisation of Hong Kong’s most precious land resources, and at the same time suffocating the creative potential of the Hong Kong people. For instance, the Government announced as early as October 2009 a set of measures to facilitate the redevelopment or revitalisation of older industrial buildings so as to provide more floor space to meet Hong Kong’s changing social and economic needs. However, the revitalization measures only last for a mere 6 years (started in April 2010 and halted in March 2016), during which there were only 200-plus applications. As at the end of February 2016, among the 124 applications that obtained approval, only 28 cases of wholesale conversions involved new proposed uses that include “Places of Sports, Culture or Recreation” (that is, providing space for cultural and creative uses). Whether other approved redevelopments may be used for cultural and creative industries is entirely at the discretion of the owners. The positive impact of these measures has been minimal. Instead they have brought negative repercussions to the market. Rentals of industrial building units have been rising continuously, leading to criticism that the measures have in fact suppressed the room for survival of the original tenants of those units. Unfortunately, in the final analysis, the root cause is the lack of conviction on the part of the Government in pushing forward the urban land use transformation, with an attitude of “testing the water” of implementing the revitalization. Due to the fact that only those industrial buildings of 15 years or older are eligible, and that only applications will unanimous support of all owners are entertained, it is very difficult to revitalise strata-titled industrial buildings that are not in single ownership. Moreover, although the existing tenants are the end users, they cannot benefit from the measures but often face the problems of escalating rentals and forced removal. This Chapter therefore believes urban land transformation issues are staring us in the face. The Government must commence a new round of reviews so as to establish a set of flexible mechanisms that are capable of meeting the land use needs of the community that may vary in different time periods, thereby accelerating the transformation of urban lands.

III.  The Government should review and renew the criteria of the existing “Land Uses Classification and Definition”, and to study the feasibility of General Uses

The Government should review and renew the criteria of the existing “Land Uses Classification and Definition” that has been in use for several decades so as to relax the restrictions on land uses in response to ever-changing social behaviours and to promote diversification of the industry base. The classification of lands and the planning of land uses should keep pace with the times and be enhanced on a timely basis in line with changes in circumstances and social behaviours. At the same time, the Government should review and refine relevant definitions of land uses on a regular basis and adjust them to include more new land uses to meet the changing demands of the society. Furthermore, the Government should consider relaxing the land use restrictions to include General Uses such as “mixed commercial & residential”.

IV.  Hong Kong needs a world-class large-scale performance and convention & exhibition venue (with a capacity of more than 20,000 people)

We recommend that the Government reserve land sites for the development of large-scale convention and exhibition centres and venues for various artistic performances. It is especially important to speed up the development of large-scale venues for performances and exhibitions so that organisations may regularly organise world-class events and sports tournaments. The aim would be to turn Hong Kong into an international metropolis of fun and glamour. From the major international events that Hong Kong has hosted in recent years, we can tell that Hong Kong has a solid foundation for sports, art and cultural development. As long as we can grasp the opportunities, we should be able to escalate our stature to an even higher level.

In 2013, Art Basel entered Asia by launching its inaugural show in Hong Kong (at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre), making it the only location in Asia designated for the showcase event outside of Basel and Miami. By showcasing top-of-the-world artworks in Hong Kong, Art Basel has re-confirmed its status as a major international hub for art. Hong Kong has been chosen not just because of its unique economic position in the region (China is at present the world’s largest art market), but also because of its unique convergence of eastern and western cultures, as well as Hong Kong’s well-entrenched soft power (including its simple and low tax regime, sound legal framework, high-efficiency and free flow of information). Up to now, Art Basel has been successfully held in Hong Kong for a fifth year, attracting an annual average attendance of more than 70,000 people. It has become a very popular major event in town. Following its steps, many artists and galleries are coming to Hong Kong Arts Month held every March. Examples include “Art Central” at the Central Harbourfront, “Vertical Gallery in Lan Kwai Fong” in California Tower Central, the “Picasso and Jacqueline” Exhibition in Times Square Causeway Bay, and Zaha Hadid’s “There Should Be No End To Experimentation” at ArtisTree in Taikoo Place. The entry of all these global exhibitions has not only consolidated Hong Kong’s unique status, they will also provide platforms for exchanges among local artists, collectors and event organizers, resulting in more and more high-quality exhibitions coming to the city, and further promoting the development of arts in Hong Kong. Similarly major sports events such as the Hong Kong Sevens Rugby Tournament show that they are capable of attracting large numbers of overseas visitors. They forester the development of sports in Hong Kong and also bring considerable economic benefits. In the field of music performance, the important music award of Korean Pop Music - Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) has chosen Hong Kong as the venue for the event since 2013. Interestingly, despite persistent complaints from fans that MAMA should be held in Korea, this prestige event has continued to choose Hong Kong over Korea. The organizer has stated that due to its status as a centre for international cultural exchange, Hong Kong is irreplaceable as the location for such an international event.

From the above, it can be seen that Hong Kong is endowed with various favourable attributes for hosting major international events. We should leverage on these competitive advantages, by supplying the necessary hardware facilities, to make Hong Kong a leading global city in all aspects. However, Hong Kong has been badly lacking a large-scale performance facility that can accommodate more than 20,000 people. Looking at other major cities around the world, almost every major international city boosts a large-scale world-class premises for entertainments and performance. For example, Taiwan is building the “Taipei Dome” with a capacity of more than 40,000; and the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul South Korea can accommodate 20,000 people. Even Foshan, a second-tier city in the Big Bay Area, has a Century Lotus Stadium with a capacity of 36,686. Back to Hong Kong, the biggest multi-functional performance facility is Asia World-Arena (a single-level column-free exhibition hall in Asia Expo) has a capacity of 14,000 only, and the Hong Kong Coliseum has an even less capacity 12,500. In view of this, we urge the Government to address this issue solemnly. We must not allow the shortage of hardware support to turn away en-masse from Hong Kong the performances of top-notch musicians and world-famous singers to perform. We must not self-destruct our competitiveness.

We are gravely concerned that the land supposed to be used for development of a large-scale performance and exhibition centre facility has been reallocated for the development of the Hong Kong Palace Museum. It is not that we oppose the construction of the Museum, but we sincerely hope that our government understands the seriousness of the shortage of large-scale performance facilities in Hong Kong and the urgency of providing them. We urge the Government to expedite their development so that Hong Kong may regularly host world-class cultural, entertainment and art as well as sports events on a regularly basis. Without that, the aspiration for Hong Kong to remain an international city could not possibly be fulfilled.

V.  The Government should accelerate the development of the smart community and push forward the development the smart city

To build a better Hong Kong, we cannot keep criticising. “Finding faults” will only add negative energy to the society but will not help it get out of its present quagmire at all. On the contrary, what we need at this time is “reverse thinking”. For example, when all the media are reporting negatively on the building of increasingly smaller flats and the weird layouts of those “Nano flats”, we may instead try to focus world attention on the interior design of small-size flats by paying tribute to the Hong Kong designers for their extraordinary skills in space utilisation. That could well induce a new world trend in space design. Everybody knows Hong Kong is among the most densely populated cities in the world, and the majority of the people have been complaining about the congested living conditions. However, looking at it from the reversed angle, it is exactly the prevalence of high-rise structures and the dense street-grids are offering to our lives all sorts of convenience, in respect of transport, shopping and dining.

The Government has been proactively promoting the concept of smart city in recent years. It intends to use Kowloon East would be used as a pilot area to build a city that uses people-oriented and technology-focused solutions to improve the efficiency of city operations and management so that the quality of living and economic competitiveness can be enhanced. However, the proposed framework has remained merely a concept at the current stage, with no concrete measures or a precise timetable. We believe that the development of a Wi-Fi network infrastructure is crucial to the development of a smart city. Exactly because Hong Kong is a highly compact city, we propose that the Government start building free Wi-Fi networks in a few small communities, and then gradually extends the coverage, so that the public may receive and dispatch information at any place, any time. Eventually, the free service should be extended to all public spaces in Hong Kong, making Hong Kong the most connected city with the highest internet accessibility, and hence a smart city boosting the best free flow of information in the world. As the Wi-Fi network infrastructure improves, there will be more effective flow of information, and higher efficiency in city operations and management will follow naturally. Then the Government can utilize the big data to collaborate with different social welfare organizations to promote social services that target different age groups, and to prepare in advance for the problems that aging of the population will induce.

C)  Economic and Legislation/Legal Planning

To enact the above proposals, the updating and support of the legal system will be essential. With the acceleration of globalization and rapid development in innovation and technology, some laws that have been in used for several decades have become outdated, and are to some extent hindering the development of emerging industries. At present sharing economy is spreading like wild fire around the world, billions of consumers have already benefited from it. Take Airbnb and Uber as examples, these international emerging enterprises that use web platforms and embrace sharing economy as their vision have yet to be legalized in Hong Kong. It will be necessary for the Government to consider as soon as possible starting the drafting and revise the relevant laws, and exploring the setting up of simple and relaxed licencing requirements in order to embrace the challenges and opportunities arising from globalization. In respect of the economy, maintaining an optimal population structure will provide the momentum for stable economic growth, and also the nexus of economic planning. Unfortunately, Hong Kong is facing the problem of a fast aging population. In twenty years, for every 10 persons in Hong Kong 3 will be aged 65 or over. Therefore, we propose that the Government enhance its immigration policies for importing more young talents, coupled with measures that encourage child-bearing, to increase the supply of working population aged between 25 - 55 sufficient in the years ahead. At the same time, the Government should allocate more resources to prepare for an aging population. In terms of hardware, we will need to build more facilities for seniors, e.g. community and healthcare centres. In terms of software, we should provide better healthcare and welfare benefits and services for seniors. To enhance the relevant community facilities, we propose that the Government seriously study the feasibility of social land uses in Hong Kong. We recommend that the easier tasks be tackled first, leaving the more difficult tasks for later. Firstly “social uses” should be added to the existing land use classifications. For instance, in all official and private lands appropriate amounts of floor area may be designated for social use, including senior homecare services (to make a better and more liveable community for seniors), childcare services (to make it easier for the working mothers, liberating the female labour force) and youth hostels. Meanwhile, the Government should study the feasibility of requiring developers, through land lease conditions, to include the abovementioned community facilities within private property developments; and possible exemption of the related floor areas from the calculation of total floor area, or the granting of extra plot ratios for those premises. In part of the land or area counted as total gross floor area, or granted additional plot ratio for the relevant facilities. We believe if the Government could include clinics and centres for seniors in every large housing estate, that will go a long way towards resolving issues arising from the rapidly ageing population of Hong Kong.

Furthermore, Hong Kong should accelerate the building of senior housing. Hong Kong senior housing development is still in a preliminary stage. We can study the successful development models in the Mainland and Europe and improve on them, so as to develop a model to enhance the post-retirement lives of our senior citizens with a sense of belonging, a sense of security and a sense of worthiness. Senior housing should fulfil the 3 criteria of: re-housing in the original locality, good amenities, and communal inclusivity. Among them, building senior homes in their local neighbourhoods is the most important, because co-habitation of the younger and older generations is the key to a harmonious community. Albeit that Hong Kong family structures are increasingly nuclear family-centric, under the influence of traditional Chinese culture, most of the grown-up children still prefer living in the same neighbourhood as their parents, making it easier for them to take care of the elderly. If the elderly can stay close to their children, they will be spared the problems of adapting to a new environment. And it will be easier for them to stay connected to the community, to participate in communal activities, making their lives easier and meaningful.

In addition, Hong Kong needs a better public transport system to support its long term economic prosperity. In this regard, we have two propositions. First, we suggest that all government-owned roads, bridges and tunnels be made toll-free. A side benefit will be the release of the land of toll plazas. Second, we urge the Government to review the tariff adjustment mechanisms or the Fare Adjustment Mechanism for the Mass Transit Railway. We request the Government to consider the following: fares for travels between CBD1 and CBD2 shall remain unchanged while travels from all other areas to and from the CBDs shall be free-of-charge. That will reduce travel expenses for the working people. It will also remove the incentives for working people to rent sub-divided flats in urban areas to save travel expenses. That will help to suppress the undesirable practice of flats sub-division.

Hong Kong should also make real efforts to improve the street-grids designs in all districts. More bicycle trails (All Ages & Ability (AAA) Bicycle Network) should be introduced to enhance connectivity among districts, promoting walkability and cyclability. We propose a vision named Harbour Loop by building on both sides of the Victoria Harbour an iconic 25-30 kilometres urban cycle, running and walking network. That will allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross the harbour for free while savouring the views at close distance. There will be cross-harbour bridges linking Quarry Bay to Lei Yue Mun in the East and Central/Sheung Wan in the West.

Last but not least, we wish to see Hong Kong become prettier. The Government should be more focused on designs. Building on the existing functions-driven regime, designs should take precedent in the future. That will beautify Hong Kong and increase its charisma. For example, the present lowest-cost “copy & paste” model for constructing the bridges and public facilities by Highways Department and Architectural Services Department should be discontinued. They should instead be replaced with designs from the private-sector architectural and designers to make a more beautiful Hong Kong. Another example is the landscaping of public spaces, where there can be stronger focus on aesthetics through the engagement of professional landscape architects, landscape specialists and maintenance specialists.

In all, it is our wish that Hong Kong will become a global leading city that we can be even more proud of, more beautiful, more fun and more appealing. The people will live a better life with harmony and vibrancy. The above ideas are our collective advocacy statement. It might not be as comprehensive as it should be but we would welcome further discussions. We request your serious consideration.

 

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