Key features of Hong Kong’s Future Urban Planning Released

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An Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Services Panel recommends that Hong Kong’s leaders should focus on actions and approaches that will permit the SAR’s built environment to thrive when implementing its “Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030” plan, the blueprint for the SAR’s development beyond 2030.

ULI brought together a panel of leaders from the worlds of real estate, public affairs and related industries to make key recommendations on development restrictions in the light of Hong Kong’s 2030+ plan. In their Advisory Services Panel Report, they argue that improving liveability and increasing Hong Kong’s competitive advantage is vital as it competes within the new realities of the regional and global economy.

From November 13 – 18 2016, the pan­el was asked to consider Hong Kong’s height limitations and ridgeline protection measures as they apply to the Quarry Bay district, as well as their impact on the competi­tiveness of Hong Kong in a changing regional and global economy. As part of the panel’s deliberations, it was sug­gested that reviewing the height limitations in the context of the broader Hong Kong 2030+ plan would be more ef­fective.

The panel’s observations include:
· The Hong Kong 2030+ undertaking by the city serves the appropriate purpose of providing a strategic vision for overall development and growth of the SAR.

· The ridgeline protection and viewshed height limitations outlined in the SAR Design Guidelines focus on two-dimensional drawings of building heights from a limited number of perspectives at harbour level.

· The SAR’s desire to improve liveability will improve the city’s competitive advantages by helping attract and retain talent.

In addition to the panel’s recommendation that the implementers of Hong Kong 2030+ focus on actions and approaches that will allow the build environment to thrive, other recommendations include:
· The 2030+ plan must be supplemented with individual and discrete area plans for the SAR’s most important neighbourhoods and business districts, such as Quarry Bay. The local area plans will help translate the SAR-wide goals of 2030+ into actionable undertakings that consider the specific characteristics and features of more-defined geographic areas.

· The ridgeline protection portions of Hong Kong’s current Design Guidelines are, in the panel’s view, simplistic and rigid. In the absence of more detailed and compre­hensive guidance that would more realistically represent viewsheds, the government should rethink its approach to managing the views of the ridgelines. The panel strongly believes that limited punctuation of the natural ridgeline with taller iconic buildings could improve the overall skyline.

“The ULI was delighted to work with some our industry’s most respected leaders to consider the future urban planning of Hong Kong,” said John Fitzgerald, Chief Executive Officer of ULI Asia Pacific. “We hope that our recommendations will ensure that Hong Kong’s built environment, one of its key strengths, remains top of mind when the 2030+ plan is implemented.”

“The goal of this ULI Advisory Services Panel was to bring the finest expertise in the real estate field to bear on Hong Kong’s complex land use planning and development projects, programs, and policies. We would like to thank all the panel members for their invaluable insights as we considered the future of Hong Kong,” said Tom Murphy, Chair of the Hong Kong Panel, ULI’s Senior Resident Fellow and ULI/Klingbeil Family Chair for Urban Development.

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