The Hong Kong Institute of Planners’ Consolidated Views for Inclusion in the Scope of the Feasibility Study of Lantau Tomorrow
In response to the Lantau Tomorrow Vision (“LTV”) in the Policy Address 2018, we understand that the Government will soon make a submission to the Legislative Council for funding application for carrying out a feasibility study (“FS”) on the Kau Yi Chau reclamations proposed under LTV. The Hong Kong Institute of Planners (“HKIP”) supports early commencement of the FS. Having consolidated Members’ views on the above in our Public Affairs Committee meeting, HKIP urges the Government to take into account, but not limited to, the following observations and comments in carrying out the captioned FS.
A. STRATEGIC ASPECTS
1. The aim of the FS should in essence be the formulation of a planning and development framework for a liveable, sustainable, smart and resilient urban growth area to meet the future aspirations of the community especially on housing, transport, employment, social inclusion and the environment, so as to make this next generation new urban growth area and our city we can take pride in. It is also essential to address the imminent threats of climate change. Its end product should not be a conventional land use plan and engineering programme with rigid and detailed allocations for various land use types and infrastructure works but should be robust enough to meet changing circumstances in the years to come, including but not limited to, the implications of the Greater Bay Area development. However, future changes should continue to be governed by a transparent planning system with meaningful public engagement.
2. The FS must adopt a genuine multi-disciplinary approach. Conventional engineering led study is not suitable to tackle the multi-facet challenges and rising community aspirations in Hong Kong, and there is a need for a new institutional set up and high level steer in overseeing the FS. This new set up should include professionals, representatives from business, finance, technology, academic, social services, and the community sectors at large, in addition to government officials. This is to ensure that a holistic, balanced, innovative and inclusive design approach can be achieved. The usual approach of solely relying on Government in-house resources for steering the study is definitely insufficient for the purpose.
3. Given the importance of the LTV, which plays an important role in the strategic development of Hong Kong, with the adoption of a holistic, balanced and innovative approach, the FS will then establish first the positioning of Hong Kong in the world and the wider region and the strategic functions of the reclamations before the basic land use planning, engineering and technical assessments.
4. The FS must fully examine the regional and territorial planning, social, economic (both in marco- and mirco-economic aspects) and future megatrends dimensions, in order to provide strategic planning directions for the development of the reclamations. To elaborate, the Greater Bay Area development, HK2030+ strategic plan, railway development strategy, the innovation and technology trends, opportunities to decant the existing built up area, social aspirations, economic positioning, economic development strategy and implementation aspects should be given due considerations in establishing the extents, planning themes and land use mix for the reclamations in the short-, medium- and long-term. In particular, the initial thinking and strategy of developing an attractive 3rd CBD should be substantiated. The future economic sectors and employment, together with the corresponding population profiles and supporting infrastructure, to be accommodated in the reclamations have to be well planned and be discussed extensively in the public.
5. The FS should consider inviting renowned international consultant team with multi-disciplinary talents as part of the Study Consultancy Team comprising expertise in economic development, urban innovations, information and communication technology, strategic and regional planning, and creative masterplans in addition to physical planning, urban design, engineering and landscape professionals in order to formulate innovative plans for Lantau Tomorrow.
6. Extensive public engagement is necessary throughout various study stages to engage the public and listen to their aspirations. The HKIP will be more than willing to participate in the whole process both by way of direct involvement in the study process and providing professional advice in the course of the study.
B. SPECIFIC ITEMS
7. The FS must examine options of reclamation extent/configuration for the 1,000ha to arrive at an optimal solution. The FS should also recommend the possible location(s) of future reclamation as this will have implications on land reservation for infrastructural connections in different implementation phases. Such locations should also take into account various factors including but not limited to marine ecology, marine traffic, water current, Hong Kong’s island living character, etc.
8. The FS must study comprehensively and derive a suitable population profile to make future economic land uses and employment successful based on the study results of Hong Kong’s strategic and economic positioning, taking into account Hong Kong’s industry advantage and the local synergy.
9. The FS must examine comprehensively the railway and highway networks of Hong Kong as a whole and with due regard to the regional connectivity (both in intra- and inter-wide contexts) in order to establish overall priorities, economic benefit and a realistic implementation timeframe. In particular, the proposed priority construction of the Kau Yi Chau to Tuen Mun railway instead of Kau Yi Chau to Tung Chung/HK- Zhuhai- Macao Bridge Boundary Crossing Facilities Island/Tuen Mun railway should be fully justified in a holistic manner.
10. The FS must adopt a ‘people-oriented’ quality planning and design approach and should not be dictated by engineering expedience considerations. Liveability, quality of life, affordability, inclusiveness, attractive urban and landscape design, low carbon orientation, integrated energy, waste, sewage and water eco-cycles embracing urban innovations should all be given priority considerations. In particular, the road and railway layout should be designed to actualise and complement the design objectives, rather than constraining the living style of residents, users and businesses.
11. In view of climate change, the FS should address, but not limited to, the following 6 essential and necessary basic factors:
(a) rise of sea level (suitable reclamation levels and design to cope with the rising sea level as a result of global warming);
(b) surge during typhoon (the need for coastal buffer area, breakwaters, suitable non-engineering seawall design, sponge city design, etc.);
(c) severe rainstorm (the need for new design of landscape areas, porous ground materials, retention ponds, stormwater tanks, etc.);
(d) strong gust (suitable layout of land parcels and the need for public refuge);
(e) extreme weather (urban climatic planning to respond to problems such as urban heat); and
(f) low carbon and climate resilient development (pillars for energy consumption, energy production, green mobility, building and infrastructure development, etc. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions).
Public Affairs Committee
The Hong Kong Institute of Planners
9 March 2019