go Top
Christian Service News

Issue 35 (April 2002)

Topic : Opinion Feedback

Employing a Cultural Perspective in Planing Vision and Strategy

Through the consultation paper Hong Kong 2030: Planning Vision and Strategy, the government proposes that the long term planning for the future development of Hong Kong should consider: (1) a closer link with the Mainland; (2) a greater responsiveness to special land needs; (3) more sustainable use of our land resources; (4) new quality development opportunities ; (5) more jobs closer to homes; (6) facilitating businesses of tomorrow , (7) certain essential but unwelcome facilities; (8) a better planning for waterfront usages ; and (9) more choices for recreation and sports.

While we generally agree with the proposed principles and recommendations , we suggest that the planning exercise should also take into account the "cultural" perspective. In our opinion, the ultimate goal of town planning should be the betterment of people; thus a "People-Oriented Approach" is best to be employed. In line with this concern, town planning, in addition to the improvement of its physical environment, should also emphasize on providing sufficient and appropriate facilities cater to the aspects of cultural, arts and even sports of the residents. Psychological well-being is essential for the citizens to enjoy a beautiful and comfortable environment.

During the planning stage, we feel that a sustainable design should be "built-in" to the process as it concerns not only the current generation but generations in the future. Furthermore, it will most probably work best if the planning be flexible enough to accommodate possible changes in local and global economic, social, and political climate. As such, the impact of China's WTO status and the proposed Free Trade Zone of the Pearl River Delta will have to be taken into consideration.

In any rapid growth, it seems that "conflicts" are likely to be encountered between the issue of pioneering new development and preservation of precious land. However, striving for a balance is not an impossible mission. With the "built-in" sustainable concept, this balance can be achieved by, for instance, providing positive measures to encourage landlords and property owners to join hand in this mission. Moreover, we believe the government shall assume a proactive role in accomplishing this.

Even with the effecting of the above suggestions, the planning exercise will not succeed without the participation of all the stakeholders. Thus, it is best for the government to provide ample opportunities for citizens' participation during the entire process. For instance, in planning a cultural facility in a community, it will be most efficient to allow participation from cultural groups in areas such as: choice of location, overall venue design and set design. After all, planning for development is ultimately for the betterment of people, not merely for the sake of "development".