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District Councils exchange views on urban regeneration (with photo)

Seven District Councils shared their districts' aspirations for urban regeneration at the "Urban Regeneration -- District Aspirations Study Forum" for District Councils organised by the Development Bureau and the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) in Noah's Ark in Ma Wan today (January 9).

The Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, and the Chairman of URA, Mr Barry Cheung, officiated at the opening ceremony of the forum.

Mrs Lam said that through the discussions in the "Envisioning" and "Public Engagement" stages of the two-year Urban Renewal Strategy Review, which commenced in July 2008, she believed that there were three emerging consensus on the future direction of urban regeneration in the community.

Firstly, urban regeneration should be district-based, taking into account the development and planning of the whole district.

Secondly, a bottom-up approach should be adopted to listen to the views and opinion of the community through public engagement.

Thirdly, the new and the old should be blended by striking a suitable balance among redevelopment, rehabilitation and preservation.

"This forum has provided a good direction for the 'Consensus Building' stage of the Urban Renewal Strategy Review," she said.

Mrs Lam expressed her gratitude to the URA and District Councils for their support and valuable advices to the Review.

To make the Urban Renewal Strategy Review more comprehensive, the Development Bureau and URA invited seven District Councils in URA's nine action areas to each conduct a District Aspirations Study (DAS) to identify respective district's aspirations for urban renewal. A consultant was appointed for each of the seven District Councils, namely Central and Western, Wan Chai, Tsuen Wan, Sham Shui Po, Yau Tsim Mong, Kowloon City and Kwun Tong, to conduct the study.

The consultants of the seven District Councils presented their preliminary findings of the study in the forum today followed by a discussion by District Council members.

The final DAS reports are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2010 and will be submitted to the Steering Committee on Review of the Urban Renewal Strategy for reference.

The Urban Renewal Strategy Review, structured into three stages: "Envisioning", "Public Engagement" and "Consensus Building", is expected to be completed this year. The review process is guided and monitored by the Steering Committee, which comprised 10 members with rich experience in urban regeneration from different sectors.

The Steering Committee will later announce the preliminary suggestions on the future urban regeneration strategy. These suggestions will be further refined during the "Consensus Building" stage.

Ends/Saturday, January 9, 2010
Issued at HKT 17:18

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The Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, today (January 9) gives an opening speech at the 'Urban Regeneration - District Aspirations Study Forum' for District Councils.

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