Students remake Central in summer planning course

Local | Kay Wong 19 Aug 2019

Two hundred primary and secondary students have the chance to "redevelop Central and Sheung Wan" in a city planning course.

The summer course - "Be a Town Planner" - was organized by the Planning Department and the Urban Renewal Authority for the sixth year. So far, it has attracted more than 430 senior primary students and 820 senior secondary students.

With a combination of lectures, field studies and workshops, the three-day curriculum aims to nurture young planning talent by arousing students' interest in town planning and enriching their understanding of the future development of Hong Kong.

"Like other developed cities, Hong Kong faces housing problems and urban decay," Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun wrote in his blog.

"The living environment in many communities has to be improved. These types of courses allow students to learn urban renewal strategies and to understand the future development of Hong Kong."

This year, 60 senior primary school students took part in the Little Planners Group, while 120 senior secondary school students joined the Teen Planners Group. The course focused on the theme of "urban renewal."

Students were able to gain an understanding of the 5R strategy in urban renewal, which means redevelopment, rehabilitation, preservation, revitalization and retrofitting, through field studies and discussions with experts in the field.

In particular, those taking part in the Teen Planners Group were given a chance to redevelop the Central and Sheung Wan area under the supervision of group tutors by creating 3D models.

"Students had to brainstorm suitable land use for the area, density of development, building height, spatial arrangement and urban design, etc," said town planner Lisa Chau Yin-mai.

The Urban Renewal Authority hosted a visit to the Urban Renewal Exploration Centre. The center has information about urban renewal in Hong Kong and models of cage houses and subdivided flats to introduce the problem of urban decay.

Students also visited the Queen's Road West/In Ku Lane redevelopment project site, a project proposed to provide residential and commercial space by re-planning of the public open space directly facing Queen's Road West. The In Ku Lane Refuse Collection Point and public toilet will be re-provisioned and integrated into the project.

Town planners explained to students how reorganization and replanning can improve land use and environment.

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