Government launches Urban Renewal Strategy Review

The Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, today (July 17) invited the public to participate in the review of the Urban Renewal Strategy (URS) to help shape the future direction of urban regeneration in Hong Kong.

Mrs Lam announced the commencement of the URS review today when she officiated at a ceremony at the Pawn in Johnston Road, Wan Chai, to mark the completion of the restoration and revitalisation work of the historic building by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA).

Mrs Lam said, "Since the promulgation of the current URS in 2001 to guide the work of the URA, the Government and the authority have accumulated a lot of experience in urban renewal work. At the same time, there have been very noticeable changes in the values and aspirations of the public with regard to heritage conservation, preservation of social networks and building maintenance and restoration. In response to these changes, the Government has introduced new policies and measures. These include a new heritage conservation policy announced by the Chief Executive in his 2007-08 Policy Address as well as various statutory and administrative measures to enhance building maintenance. Taking all these into account, we believe it is an opportune time to conduct a comprehensive review of the URS to ensure that it will continue to reflect the values and priorities of the community.

"We will conduct the review in the most open manner and we have no pre-determined agenda. We aim to conduct a root-and-branch review in the coming two years," Mrs Lam said.

"I would like to pay tribute to the URA chairman and the URA board for the support and co-operation it has pledged to this review. Apart from contributing to the review, the URA will face a major challenge in the coming years in pressing ahead with the commenced redevelopment projects, particularly the largest ever Kwun Tong Town Centre redevelopment, as well as the new initiative of doing more in preserving pre-war shop houses, like the one we are now in on Johnston Road," Mrs Lam added.

Mrs Lam also expressed appreciation to 10 prominent members of the community, from such fields as housing, heritage, environment, architecture, arts and culture, economics, engineering, and community work, who have agreed to join a committee she will chair to steer the public engagement exercise on the review.

To launch the review and facilitate active public participation, the Government launched a dedicated website and published a pamphlet today. The website,, provides a platform to disseminate information and facilitate public participation and discussion. The progress of the review, programmes of engagement activities as well as the reports of each public engagement stage will be posted onto the website.

The pamphlet highlights the planned public engagement process of the review, as well as achievements and challenges with regard to urban regeneration in Hong Kong, to stimulate discussion. Members of the public are also invited to complete and return a questionnaire attached to the pamphlet, which will be available for collection at the Public Enquiries Counters of all District Offices.

Other publicity and means of communication, such as road shows, public forums, focus group discussions, questionnaire surveys, interviews and advertisements in the mass media, will also be organised.

Mrs Lam pointed out that the review would generally proceed in three stages, namely "Envisioning", "Public Engagement" and "Consensus Building".

"The community will be invited to help set the agenda for the review and decide the range of topics and issues to be discussed. Through extensive and thorough public discussions, we hope to achieve the consensus needed to come up with a revised urban renewal strategy," she said.

Mrs Lam also announced today the setting up of the Steering Committee on Review of the URS to guide and monitor the whole review process and facilitate public participation.

The committee is responsible for overseeing and monitoring the progress of the review and to receive and offer views on study reports in connection with the review. It will also advise and provide guidance on any critical issues affecting the process of the review, and recommend for consideration by the Government any areas of change to the current URS.

The membership of the steering committee is as follows:

Secretary for Development (Chairperson)

Mr Chan Ping-chiu, Andrew
Managing Director, Planning and Design (Int'l) Ltd
Member of the Hong Kong Housing Authority

Professor Cheung Yan-leung, Stephen
Department of Economics and Finance, City University of Hong Kong
Chairman of the Advisory Committee on the Enhancing Self-Reliance Through District Partnership Programme

Mr Ho Hei-wah
Director, Society for Community Organisation
Former Executive Committee Member of the Hong Kong Housing Society

Mr Kwan Chuk-fai
General Manager (Corporate Communication), NWS Holdings Limited
Member of the Social Welfare Advisory Committee and Member of the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund Committee

Mr Lee Tsung-hei, David Chris
Executive Director, Paul Y Engineering Group Limited
Member of the Land and Building Advisory Committee

Professor Lung Ping-yee, David
Department of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong
Chairman of the Land and Building Advisory Committee, Non-executive Director of the Urban Renewal Authority

Mr Ng Wing-shun, Vincent
Director, AGC Design Limited
Member of the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee

Professor Tam Fung-yee, Nora
Department of Biology and Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong
Member of the Environmental Impact Assessment Appeal Board Panel

Dr Wong King-keung, Peter
Chairman, Newmark Company Limited
Former Vice-chairman of the Town Planning Board

Ms Wong Ying-kay, Ada
Member of the Committee on Performing Arts

Ends/Thursday, July 17, 2008
Issued at HKT 16:09

1) Legislative Council Paper: Review of Urban Renewal Strategy
2) Urban Renewal in Hong Kong: Facts and Figures