Response to Policy Address 2023/2024 from Mr. Paul Chan, President of the Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects



HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 26 October 2023 -

Actively utilizing resources to develop land and housing supply
  • We support the government's efforts to expedite the development of the "Northern Metropolis" and the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands. We have previously proposed the establishment of a Landscape Committee to enhance coordination and planning, ensuring the implementation of various government policies related to ecology, landscape, and greening. We advocate for the use of Nature-Based Solution to address the challenges posed by climate change, aiming to help Hong Kong become a more attractive international city.

Promoting the green urban ecological transformation process to achieve sustainable development goals
  • This year's Policy Address introduced the "Shining City Project", which will focus on developing the Shing Mun River and Yuen Long Nullah into flower viewing hotspots. We are delighted to see the government's emphasis on urban greening projects and its proactive efforts to beautify the city, aiming to enhance the well-being of its citizens. We also anticipate the utilization of Hong Kong's landscape expertise in future sustainable development plans, enabling landscape architects to make significant contributions to the development of Hong Kong.
  • We are delighted to see that the government has adopted our recommendations in the development of the "Northern Metropolis" project. With a focus on environmental preservation and high-quality urban development, the project takes into consideration the natural topography and includes the establishment of the Sam Po Shue Wetland Conservation Park. This park will enhance ecological quality and biodiversity. We have collaborated with a team of experts from both Hong Kong and Shenzhen to provide planning guidance and recommendations for this project.
  • The government published "Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030" (Hong Kong 2030+) in October 2021 that envisions increasing the amount of per person open space to 3.5 m² from the original 2.0 m², but it is still lower than most of the major developed cities. Additionally, there are still significant amounts of undeveloped recreational land, and some existing public open spaces (POS) do not meet the requirements of society in terms of design and facilities. We recommend that within the coming 5 years, upgrade not less than 5% of the existing POS, and within the coming 5 years, develop not less than 50 hectares of POS in built-up areas (i.e., excluding those in new development areas).
  • In response to the increasing demand for green urban planning, we propose to explore the self-certification for tree preservation and removal proposal (TPRP) by Registered Landscape Architect be applied to public works. This initiative aims to optimize urban forestry policies, reducing project approval times while effectively managing the life cycle of trees, preserving valuable landscape resources, and ensures public safety.

Promoting the development of landscape architecture and alleviating the shortage of industrial professionals
  • Currently, there are only around 300 registered landscape architects in Hong Kong. With the growing societal emphasis on ecological landscapes and the ongoing implementation of numerous construction projects, the demand for landscape professionals continues to increase.
  • In this year's Policy Address, the government has outlined plans to allocate substantial resources to promote innovation and technological development. Recognizing the challenge of rapidly increasing the number of skilled landscape professionals in a short period, we hope that the government will allocate a portion of these resources to drive the development of the landscape design industry. This allocation would help alleviate the issue of manpower shortage and contribute to the overall growth of the sector.
  • We express support for the government's efforts to attract and retain talents, and we recommend providing more incentives and funding for mainland and overseas professionals to work in Hong Kong. This would ensure a stable supply of talent for the industry. However, it is crucial to strike a balance and provide sufficient job opportunities for local talent as well, in order to maintain Hong Kong's competitiveness.

Promoting cross-border collaboration with the Greater Bay Area (GBA) to facilitate mutual complementarity
  • We are committed to promoting cross-border collaboration with the Greater Bay Area (GBA) to facilitate mutual complementarity in terms of human resources and management resources. We aim to foster industry development and actively participate in the national development agenda.
  • We are pleased to see the government's proactive efforts in expanding vocational talent pool, as we believe it will lay a strong foundation for attracting more elites to the industry. The assessment and certification systems for landscape architects and arborists implemented by us have gained wide recognition in the market and have a wealth of experience in quality assurance. We are willing to engage in discussions with the government regarding cross-border qualification recognition for professionals from other regions who wish to develop their careers locally. Additionally, we are ready to provide relevant professional advisory services in this regard.

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The Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects (HKILA)

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Property

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Traditional Chinese

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26 Oct 2023

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