Hong Kong Christian Service

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Issue 006
2015 Mar

Creating a public space more suitable for youth development

When our Happy Teens Club (HTC) came into contact with their members, they found them lacking in venues to develop their hobbies or talents. While most of them considered public space important to them yet there are many restrictions in using them. These trigger us to think if "public space" can more effectively be used by the general public?

From June to December 2014, our HTCs conducted a survey about youths’ opinions on public space, we interviewed 862 young people aged from 12 to 24.

Avoid stigmatising the youth

From the survey, we found that youth are usually labelled adversely when they use public space. Security guards would cast unfriendly stare at them or to interrogate them, some even stop them. All these negative attitudes are associated with nuisances which deter them from using public space. Therefore, we encourage the public to take an unbiased view on them. Youths also have an equal right to use public space. It is their developmental stage that they need to release their energy constructively. Their fond of group activities and interaction are also typical during youth development. At the same time, young people should also observe the guidelines and have the proper attitude in using public space.

Setting up public arenas for talent shows to support youth’s developmental needs

From the findings we found that public space are venues to show off their different talents, it also has strong impact on the followings: building up self-confidence, developing their talents professionally and promoting public appreciation of youth while at the same time building up positive attitude among youth.1 Therefore we urge the government to give more considerations on the facilities for talents shows and create more venues for them when planning public spaces. These are hatching grounds for mutual respect and harmony, for arts to reach out to more people and encourage more cultural exchange.

Lastly, we appeal to the government to face the problem of shortage of public space, to create more public spaces to cater to the needs of the public.

What is "public space"?
"Public space" is a social space that is generally open and accessible to people (Wikipedia, 14 August 2014), regardless of economic or social requirements (though it might not be so in reality), they are free and open to the public, such as the ground section of Times Square, Tamar Park, Kwun Tong waterfront promenade. Public spaces in Hong Kong are mainly administered by Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Lands Department, Building Department and Transport Department,. Some of the "public space: are exchanged with private companies according to plot ratio and administered by them.

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