Urban Renewal Authority
|Urban Renewal Authority|
si5keui1 cung4gin3 guk6
A logo of Urban Renewal Authority
|Superseding agency||Land Development Corporation (土地發展公司|
|Agency executives||, Chairman
Quinn Law Yee-kwan, JP, managing director
The Urban Renewal Authority (Chinese: 市區重建局; Cantonese Yale: si5keui1 chung4gin3 guk6; URA) is a statutory body in Hong Kong responsible for accelerating redevelopment to provide a better living environment and neighbourhood.
- 1 History
- 2 Urban decay in Hong Kong
- 3 The Urban Renewal Proposals
- 4 Criticism
- 5 List of Projects
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
It was set up in 1999, replacing its predecessor Land Development Corporation (土地發展公司, or 土發 for short) which was set up in 1988. The Urban Renewal Authority was officially established on 1 May 2001.
Urban decay in Hong Kong
At present, there are about 16,000 private buildings in the metro area (Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, Tsuen Wan District and Kwai Tsing District) which are 30 years old and above. By 2030, the number of buildings over 30 years old will increase by four folds. The problem of ageing buildings is more serious in older urban areas.
To address the problem of urban decay and improve the living conditions of residents in dilapidated areas, the Urban Renewal Authority Ordinance (Chapter 563) was enacted in July 2000. The Ordinance provides a new institutional framework for carrying out urban renewal. The Hong Kong Government conducted a comprehensive review of "Urban Renewal Strategy" in 2008. After two years' extensive community engagement, a broad consesus had been reached and the new Strategy was promulgated on 24 Feb 2011.
The Urban Renewal Proposals
The new Strategy pointed out that Hong Kong's urban renewal should follow three major principles: "Putting People first"; "District-Based"; and "Community Participation"
Although urban renewal is difficult to define clearly, it normally involves relatively large-scale redevelopment of urban areas, rather than piecemeal rebuilding of individual buildings or the provision of specific facilities. Its objectives include:
- improvements to living condition to residents living in old urban areas;
- improvements to the urban environment and infrastructure by the provision of more open space, community and other facilities;
- enhancements to urban layouts, road networks and other infrastructure;
- the substitution or overhaul of archaic buildings;
- better exploitation of land;
- thinning out of development and population densities to reduce the strain on over-burdened transport and other infrastructure;
- making accessible land to meet various uses such as housing, and
- redeveloping a particular area to act as a catalyst for the redevelopment of neighbouring areas by private developers, as enhanced property values make this more viable.
Two townscape enhancement schemes, namely Stone Nullah Lane in Wan Chai and the area around Lan Kwai Fong and adjoining the Central District Central-Mid-Levels escalator (the Soho area), are proposed to preserve their unique local character and to enhance their attractiveness to tourists. For the Stone Nullah Lane area, it is proposed to form part of an adjoining redevelopment priority project area. The redevelopment project will be carefully designed to integrate with the preservation of a group of the adjoining buildings of heritage value. It will be carried out by the Urban Renewal Proposals.
Demolition of Lee Tung Street
Lee Tung Street, better known by its local nickname "Wedding Card Street", is famous for its printing shops that sell custom-made wedding cards, coloured flashy red for luck. Despite efforts by local residents and conservationists to save the street's character, old buildings along the street are scheduled for demolition as they were too dilapidated to be preserved. Many proprietors have shut down their shops and moved out. Campaigners who fought to keep the street's character concede that the buildings are in poor shape, but they are sad to see Hong Kong losing another piece of its cultural identity. However, the project did facilitate residents improving their living conditions. Owner-occupiers were able to have generous compensation to buy a much better flat, while tenants were able to be relocated to public housing units. The project also invites shop operators to move back when the project is completed.
Commercial tenants sometimes have a different view towards urban renewal as low-cost premises are getting hard to find in Wan Chai. Affordable commercial space is not always available in newly developed commercial buildings. Even owner-operators of commercial premises are unable to relocate in the same district because the compensation they get from the Urban Renewal Authority do not always match the purchase price of similar-sized properties in the same district. It was proposed, therefore, that options should be made available to owners or tenants so that they can choose between physical relocation by developers, cash compensation to allow them buy or rent elsewhere, or wind up their businesses altogether.
At the end of April 2007, Alan Leong Kah-kit was dropped from the board of directors of the Authority, after two years of service. Leong said he was not angry or surprised. "The government expects those who are appointed to statutory bodies to shut up and not express any opposing view to the public," he said. "If I really want to work for the people, then there is no point in staying there." another Civic Party member, and also a Legislative Council member Tanya Chan was appointed as URA's board member.
List of Projects
(including previous projects by Land Development Corporation)
- The Center in Central
- Grand Millennium Plaza and Cosco Tower in Sheung Wan
- Langham Place in Mong Kok
- Kennedy Town New Praya Project (The Merton)
- Waterloo Road/Yunnan Lane Project (8 Waterloo Road) in Yau Ma Tei
- The Masterpiece, Tsim Sha Tsui
- Sheung Wan Revitalisation Project: Sheung Wan Fong (the public square adjacent to Western Market)
- Tsuen Wan Redevelopment Project (between Yeung Uk Road, Tai Ho Road, Sha Tsui Road and Wo Tik Street)
- The Merton (New Praya, Kennedy Town)
- Revitalization/Preservation Project of 72-74A Stone Nullah Lane, 2–8 Hing Wan Street and 8 King Sing Street.
- Mallory Street/Burrows Street Project
- Last effort to keep pier close to its current site, Michael Ng, The Standard, 2 May 2007
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