Tamar Site for Development of Central Gov. Complex (May 2002)
The Hong Kong Institute of Planners (HKIP) would suggest the Hong Kong SAR Government to consider the following suggestions and comments in the planning and implementation of this important landmark project for Hong Kong.
The Design-and-Build Approach
The current proposal of the Government is to invite expression of interest internationally to shortlist potential design-and-build candidates to implement the project, based on user requirements to be formulated by the Government.
While the HKIP acknowledges that this approach is one of the different ways to implement a building project, the HKIP urges the Government to ensure that the best urban design proposal be selected for the project. The design quality must not be compromised for the sake of cost reduction or fast-tracking the completion of the project.
The Tamar site is strategically a very important landmark site of the Central waterfront. The detailed planning, built form, functions and management of this project, together with the adjacent planned ‘Central Waterfront Promenade’ and ‘Waterfront Related Commercial and Leisure Uses’ (as denoted in the Outline Zoning Plan) will be critical issues affecting the image of Hong Kong.
The HKIP strongly recommends the Government to introduce urban design proposal competition process and urban design as an evaluation criterion in the selection of the final implementation agent for the project. Design competition will enhance the quality and provide an open and transparent process for the determination of the future design of this important waterfront of Hong Kong.
Maximize Community Participation in the Planning and Design of the Project
The project will be an excellent opportunity to enhance the participation of the communities in the planning and design of places and spaces that are belonged to the people of Hong Kong. The current zoning for the sites were finalized based on a lengthy and thorough consultation with the public. Nevertheless, the actual user requirements and project brief, as well as the detailed design should also be developed based on direct community input and participation, particularly by school kids and the younger generations of our society, for the following reasons:
Urban design involves more than just architectural building design. It covers the wider perspective of the planning and design of public spaces, provision of community facilities as well as the general quality of our city. As such, good urban design is not a monopoly of any specific professional bodies or interested sectors in the society. Good urban design must involve the direct participation of the wider community as well as all the relevant professional groups together. The future development of the Tamar site should provide opportunities for the community participation in the formulation of the urban design concept.
Community participation is one of the best approaches to foster community support to Hong Kong. Through participation by the younger generations, the experience will enhance their sense of belonging to Hong Kong and civic awareness.
The planning, user requirement development, detailed design, building and future management of the CGC and its surrounding areas will be an excellent educational process on its own for the citizens of Hong Kong. The incorporation of direct participation by various community groups in this process will itself be a community learning exercise.
Invest in Environmentally Friendly Planning and Design using the CGC as an International Example of Best Practices
The proposed investment of the Government on the development is estimated to be around HK$ 6.4 billion. The HKIP strongly urges the Government to maximize the investment by promoting energy recycling and renewal in city planning and building design. We see this as a major opportunity to demonstrate to the international and local communities that major planning and design projects could be environmentally friendly, and that the Hong Kong SAR Government’s future CGC will be a leading showcase and an example of best practices.
The future design and build contract as well as the tendering should include the specific requirement that the planning and design of the CGC as well as the LegCo building must incorporate all available best practices in energy recycling/renewal as well as conservation driven design approaches.
The Need of an Event Space or Fair Ground Should be Considered
The Tamar site currently is used as a major venue for outdoor events or fair ground for carnivals and festival celebration (such as the Chinese New Year Parade). The development of the Tamar site should consider the need of such a space in central part of Hong Kong for the staging of regular large-scale events and festive activities. The user requirements as well as the future planning of the infrastructure, services and utilities for this project should take into this account.
The HKIP urges the Government to consider the above suggestions in the next stage of the development process for this important landmark site for Hong Kong.
Public Affairs Committee
Hong Kong Institute of Planners
10 May 2002