Lee Tung Street

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Lee Tung Street
Leetungst.jpg
View of Lee Tung Street
Traditional Chinese 利東街
Simplified Chinese 利东街
Wedding Card Street
Chinese 喜帖街
Literal meaning joyous posters street

Lee Tung Street, known as the Wedding Card Street by locals, was a street in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. The street was famed in Hong Kong and abroad as a centre for publishing and for the manufacturing of wedding cards and other similar items.

All interests of this street were resumed by and reverted to the Government of Hong Kong since 1 November 2005. Lee Tung Street was demolished in December 2007 as part of an Urban Renewal Authority (URA) project. The demolition was seen by many as causing irreparable harm to the cultural heritage of Hong Kong.

The site has recently been redeveloped as a luxury shopping and housing development. As with all other URA projects, no original tenants have been resettled on site.

History[edit]

The street was known for its printing industry, and Wan Chai was a longtime host of the headquarters of the Hong Kong Times, Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po. In the 1950s, print shops began to gather in Lee Tung Street between Johnston Road and Queen's Road East. Rumours had it that the government of Hong Kong mandated this in order to easily monitor illegal publication.

The famous poet and translator Dai Wangshu also established a short-lived bookstore in Lee Tung Street in the early 1950s.[1]

In the 1970s, the print shops also began producing wedding invitations, lai see, fai chun, and other items, for which they became famous in the 1980s. Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people visited the shops there to order their wedding cards, name cards, and traditional Chinese calendars.

The Urban Policy Initiative/ Objective of Lee Tung Street Urban Renewal Timeline[edit]

  • 1998 – The Land Development Corporation announced the Development Scheme Plan including The Lee Tung Street/McGregor Street project (H15)
  • 1998 – The Town Development Broad approved the Development Scheme Plan.
  • 1999 – The Chief Executive in Council approved the Development Scheme Plan
  • 2001 – the Urban Renewal Authority was established and replaced the Land Development Corporation since Land Development Corporation ’s efficiency in redevelopment was not satisfactory.
  • 2003 – Urban Renewal Authority conducted the occupancy survey
  • 2004 – Urban Renewal Authority released the letter8 for the land and property acquisition in the affected area of H15 Renewal Project.
  • 2005 – The H15 group submitted her own renewal proposal i.e. Dumbbell Proposal (啞鈴方案), which was awarded silver award by the Hong Kong Institute of Planners, but was rejected by the Town Planning Broad (城規會)
  • 2007 – H15 group failed to appeal the decision made by Town Planning Broad in the Appeal Board Panel (Town Planning).
  • 2009 – Urban Renewal Authority started a public tendering for the H15 Urban Renewal Plan.
  • 2009 – The Urban Renewal Authority announced that Sino Land Company and Hopewell Holdings Limited got the joint development contract, enabling them to develop the H15 Urban Renewal Plan.

The procedures and institutions involved in the redevelopment plan[2][edit]

  1. Urban Renewal Authority submits a development scheme plan to the Town Planning Board
  2. Town Planning Board Secretariat process the submission
  3. Town Planning Board decides if the plan submitted is suitable for exhibition or not.
  4. Town Planning Board arranges a publication of such development scheme plan in the Gazette
  5. Town Planning Board publishes the development scheme plan
  6. Urban Renewal Authority publishes the development scheme in the Gazette
  7. Urban Renewal Authority carry out a freezing survey in the affected area
  8. Town Planning Board considers objections to the development scheme plan.
  9. Town Planning Board submits the development scheme plan to the Chief Executive in Council
  10. Chief Executive decides to approve the DSP or not.

Redevelopment[edit]

Banners brandished all over Lee Tung Street against the demolishing action of the government.

In 2003, the Urban Renewal Authority announced it would spend HK$3.58 billion to redevelop Lee Tung Street and McGregor Street, an area covering 8,900 square metres (96,000 sq ft). According to an authority spokesman, up to the end of June 2005, more than 85 percent of the 647 affected homeowners on Lee Tung Street had agreed to accept compensation offers of HK$4,079 per square foot. The purchase of the land was expected to be completed early 2006. The street was duly demolished starting in December 2007. In its place will stand four high-rise buildings and one underground car park, and new shops fitting in with the proposed image of the street as a “Wedding City”. That means the old shops there, which were mostly small businesses and family-run, had to move elsewhere to continue operating, facing high rent and losing old customers.

On behalf of the H15 Concern Group, architect Christopher Law produced a counter-proposal known as the "Dumbbell Proposal" which would have preserved the signature six-storey tong lau in the middle part of the street. However, despite the proposal and strong protests by residents (including a three-day hunger strike by 60-year-old shop owner May Je) and other activists, the URA and the government went on to demolish the street as planned.[3]

Timeline of Lee Tung Street Renewal scheme[edit]

  • 1998: The Land Development Corporation announced the Development Scheme Plan including The Lee Tung Street/McGregor Street project (H15)
  • 1998: The Town Planning Broad approved the Development Scheme Plan
  • 1999: The Chief Executive in Council approved the Development Scheme Plan
  • 2001: the Urban Renewal Authority was established and replaced the Land Development Corporation since Land Development Corporation's efficiency in redevelopment was not satisfactory
  • 2003: Urban Renewal Authority conducted the occupancy survey
  • 2004: Urban Renewal Authority released the letter 8 for the land and property acquisition in the affected area of H15 Renewal Project
  • 2005: The H15 group submitted her own renewal proposal i.e. Dumbbell Proposal (啞鈴方案), which was awarded silver award by the Hong Kong Institute of Planners but was rejected by the Town Planning Broad(城規會)
  • 2007: H15 group failed to appeal the decision made by Town Planning Broad in the Appeal Board Panel (Town Planning)
  • 2009: Urban Renewal Authority started a public tendering for the H15 Urban Renewal Plan
  • 2009: The Urban Renewal Authority announced that Sino Land and Hopewell Holdings Limited got the joint development contract, enabling them to develop the H15 Urban Renewal Plan

Procedures and institutions involved[edit]

  1. Urban Renewal Authority submits a development scheme plan to the Town Planning Board
  2. Town Planning Board Secretariat process the submission
  3. Town Planning Board decides if the plan submitted is suitable for exhibition or not
  4. Town Planning Board arranges a publication of such development scheme plan in the Gazette
  5. Town Planning Board publishes the development scheme plan
  6. Urban Renewal Authority publishes the development scheme in the Gazette
  7. Urban Renewal Authority carry out a freezing survey in the affected area
  8. Town Planning Board considers objections to the development scheme plan.
  9. Town Planning Board submits the development scheme plan to the Chief Executive in Council

Controversy[edit]

Shop Owners and Residents[edit]

Some of the active residents were very concerned about the H15 renewal scheme plan and later on H15 Concern Group was formed and May Yip to Mrs. Kam, the shop owners, are the active members in the concern group.[4] They, people living or doing business in the affected area, very much concerned about the loss of relationships within the community that had taken years to establish.[5] In fact, in order to tackle the dissipation of the relationship within the community, the H15 Concerns Groups proposed a Dumbbells Plan in 2005 [6] and being rejected in 2007 by the Town Planning Board.[7]

Apart from the concern pertaining to the community relationship, the economic concern is also one of the worries. One of the shop owners, Mr. Luk, due to the H15 program, moved his shop from Lee Tung Street to Wan Chai Road and faced 80% decrement in business income comparing with the days when he was running his printing business in Lee Tung Street.[8] Mr. Luk is not the only one. In fact, former shop owner Ms. Chan, complained in 2016, after moving from Lee Tung Street to Tai Wong Street East, she faced 40% decrement in business income comparing with her income in bygone days in Lee Tung Street.[9]

The other economical concern is about the underestimated compensation given by URA. During the reconstruction of Lee Tung Street, the compensation given by the Urban Renewal Authority to the flat owners was $4000 per square feet. However, the selling price of a flat, after the reconstruction, in Avenue Walk is $23000 per square feet in 2013. The URA was criticized for depriving the flat owners by paying an unreasonably low compensation to the flat owner in the affected area i.e. 1.8 billion in total while Urban Renewal Authority is foreseeably gaining $3.4 billion by this project.[10]

Wan Chai District Council[edit]

Wan Chai District Council, in 2004 published her position paper Our Urban Renewal of Wan Chai emphasizing the following four principles. Firstly, renewal does not equal to reconstruction. It is ridiculous to demolish a community of vitality for the purpose of reconstruction. The New and the old can be able to exist in the same community. Secondly, people oriented with various choices is paramount. Respect mankind’s diversity of needs and provide corresponding choices to the flat and shop owners but not long confined to monetary compensation. Thirdly, showing Appreciation to community and cultural identity. We should respect the individual’s connection in the community and protect such relationship. Lastly, public participation. The affected people, due to the renewal programs, shall be able to participate in deciding the development direction, procedures and principles.[11]

In fact, Wan Chai District Council commissioned the University of Hong Kong conducting a survey. That survey showed more than 70% of people living in the affected area agreed to reconstruct the Lee Tung Street.[12] Wan Chai District Council also approved the Lee Tung Street’s master layout plan as well as the plans of solving the concerning traffic problems in the affected area. The Wan Chai District Council also urged the Urban Renewal Authority starting the reconstruction work as soon as possible.[13]

Government and URA[edit]

According to the press release of the Progress of Lee Tung Street Project announced by the then chairman of Urban Renewal Authority Cheung Chun Yuen, the new project would take the wedding industry as the main theme of the project since the original Lee Tung Street was famous for traditional wedding industry.[14] After redevelopment, H15 Concern Groups challenged the promise that making wedding as renewal theme as chain stores and famous brand dominated the new street. Due to the expensive rent, original shop owners can hardly move back. Also, tenants have to fulfill the term that building ‘First Class Shopping Premises’ which designed by URA and land developer. Nothing about the wedding theme has been mentioned in the lease.[15]

URA replied that three pre-war tenement houses in the renewal project are kept for the wedding industry with Eighty-nine square meters reserved as ‘Chinese and western wedding traditions museum’.[16] However, Peter Lee Siu-man from Conservancy Association criticized that no social enterprises and original shop owners should afford the monthly rent of three rebuilt tenement houses.[17]

Lee Tung Avenue[edit]

The current site of Lee Tung Street, now part of a mall
The Avenue

In June 2013, the Urban Renewal Authority began accepting applications for new commercial tenants on the street, and formally announced the new name "Avenue Walk" (囍歡里). The Chinese name was a pun on the phrase "I Like You". This pun resulted in widespread derision.[18] Lyricist Wyman Wong was among the critics; in a parody of the lyrics of a Joey Yung song he had written earlier, he stated that the name made him feel miserable and cry (『囍歡里』讓我下沉,『囍歡里』讓我哭). Some internet users extended the pun in an obscene direction by suggesting the opening of a lou mei restaurant in the street called "Avenue Lane Lou Mei Shop" (囍歡里鹵味店);[19] lou mei is a widely known Cantonese minced oath used in maternal insults, making the name roughly equivalent to "I Like Yo Momma". Finally, Hopewell and URA announced the name changed to "Lee Tung Avenue" (利東街) in October 2015, using the street's old Chinese name.

On 28 November 2015, the place was reopened as an outdoor shopping boulevard with one storey of basement mall.

Evaluation[edit]

In 2010[edit]

The extent to which the H15 project meets the 12 objectives spelled out in URS is set out in the table below (prescribed in the Study Report: The Achievements and Challenges of Urban Renewal in Hong Kong):[20]

Objective Achievements
a Restructuring and re-planning designated target areas Adopted an area-based approach based on a district base planning study - “Wan Chai Master Thinking”
b Designing more effective and environmentally-friendly local transport and road networks Pedestrianization of Lee Tung Street and the provision of underground connection to the MTR, off-street parking and loading- unloading area. The re-provisioning of the refuse collection point and public toilets located at the junction of Cross Street and

Spring Garden Lane into the site which would improve vehicular circulation along Spring Garden Lane

c Rationalizing land uses The re-provision of refuse collection point and public toilet.
d Redeveloping dilapidated buildings into new buildings of modern standard and environmentally- friendly design Environmentally friendly features are included, e.g. water-cooling air-conditioning, grey water recycling system, solar energy systems, etc.
e Promoting sustainable development in the urban area Achievements in economic and environmental aspects are more obvious and less debatable. However, social aspects of sustainable development are contentious.
f Promoting the rehabilitation of buildings in need of repair Not applicable
g Preserving buildings, sites and structures of historical, cultural or architectural interest Three pre-war shop houses (Grade II historic buildings) within the site will be conserved and put to adaptive re-uses
h Preserving as far as practicable local characteristics Preserve the existing streetscape by maintaining the height, scale and style of the shop-houses at street level. To retain the active street level character, the street will maintain their active mixed uses with commercial, retail, restaurant, etc.
i Preserving the social networks of the local community This is one of the most controversial parts of the project. The efforts made by the URA include:

- smaller units in the future residential towers will be designed with overall average flat size about 52m2 (GFA). Units of less than 50m2 GFA would also be provided to enhance the probability for the original residents to purchase a new and affordable flat in H15 (As to whether such flats would be affordable to the previous owner-occupiers in the future is unknown. For instance, in the J-Residence, a URA project, there were 7 transaction recorded in early 2010 before this report was written, the price ranges from $11,357/ft2 to $13,799/ft2 for flat sizes ranging from 449 to 585 ft.) - non-domestic portion of Site B is proposed to be retained for possible social enterprises or social capital projects to facilitate the preservation of the social network and building up of social capital in old Wan Chai - a 3,000m2 saleable floor area of the non- domestic portion will become a Wedding City comprising wedding themed shops where the original wedding card shops will be allowed to return, which originally occupied about 1,400 m2 of saleable floor area. Hence, the provision should be more than sufficient to cater for potential interest. However, whether shop owners would return to the redeveloped site is still unknown.

j Providing purpose-built housing for groups with special needs, such as the elderly and the disabled A residential care home for the elderly (RCHE) cum day care unit (DCU) is included in the site area
k Providing more open space and community/welfare facilities Public Open Space: Not less than 3,000m2 – Community facilities: Re-provisioning of refuse collection point and public toilet Welfare facilities: the RCHE cum DCU
l Enhancing the townscape with attractive landscape and urban design Reduced site coverage via pedestrianized streets and open spaces to enable various landscaping improvement in the area, including street trees and ornamental planting to increase the amount of green space, and vertical greening to the façade of the new buildings. Set back building lines to create new plazas at Johnston Road and Queen’s Road East. Enhanced pedestrian connectivity through breaking up the low rise building blocks along Lee Tung Street.

If the redevelopment turned out to be as planned in 2010, we could safely conclude the H15 project met most of the objectives spelt out in the URS, the remaining controversial part was related to the social aspects. In terms of preservation of social network, while URA has made provisions to enhance such efforts, given the fact that all the residents and commercial operators have left the site without any existing explicit arrangement for their return, the chance of re-establishing such social network was uncertain. By 2016, as shown above in bold, some of the intended achievement were not delivered.

New social movement- “flat-for-flat” and “shop-for-shop” compensation[21][edit]

After the preservation of Lee Tung Street (together with the protest against the demolition of the Star Ferry and Queen’s Pier and the recent controversy about the construction of Express Rail Link), the public are much more concerned on the preservation of local community, local characteristics, cultural assets and collective memories. The struggle made by H15 Concern Group and its supporters is now usually considered as one important landmark of the “new social movement”, which stresses on postmaterialist values like culture and heritage. The experience in Lee Tung Street also nurtured a batch of activists in the society, most remarkably Eddie Chu, and led to more sophisticated tactics in future social movements. [22] Other issues in urban renewal, including community participatory planning, owners’ participation in redevelopment, “flat-for-flat” and “shop-for-shop” compensation are all reflected in the case of the H15 project.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lee, Leo Ou-fan (2008). City Between Worlds, My Hong Kong. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 94. 
  2. ^ Legco, HKSAR (1999, Nov 30), Subcommittee to study the Urban Renewal Authority White Bill Concerns raised at the meeting on 30 November 1999, Retrieved from http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr99-00/english/hc/sub_com/hs01/papers/a554e01.pdf
  3. ^ Chau, Winnie. "Our Town". HK Magazine. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  4. ^ Hermia Leung (Producer). (2008, March, 27). The Hong Kong Connection [Destruction or reconstruction?].RTHK. Podcast retrieved from http://evideo.lib.hku.hk/play/4380828
  5. ^ Hermia Leung (Producer). (2008, March, 27). The Hong Kong Connection [Destruction or reconstruction?].RTHK. Podcast retrieved from http://evideo.lib.hku.hk/play/4380828
  6. ^ H15 Concern Group. (2012, June 1). 啞鈴方案–香港首個民間發展規劃方案 [H15 Concern Group].
  7. ^ Apple Daily (2007, Oct 6). 「啞鈴方案」兼顧發展保育. Apple Daily. Retrieved from http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/news/art/20071006/10254207
  8. ^ Apple Daily(2016, Oct 24).囍帖街重建 十年摧一世情 昔日街坊四散 換來天價高樓.Apple Daily. Retrieved from http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/news/art/20131014/18462876
  9. ^ Apple Daily(2013, Nov 26). 半世紀老店 拒再囍歡里 舊舖主:賤價收購 高價出租. Apply Daily. Retrieved from http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/financeestate/art/20131126/18524561
  10. ^ Apple Daily(2015, July 27). 不再「囍歡里」.Apple Daily. Retrieved from http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/news/art/20150727/19233623
  11. ^ Wan Chai District Council Our Urban Renewal Of Wan Chai 10 Urban Renewal Authority. Retrieved from: http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr04-05/chinese/panels/plw/papers/plw1123cb1-196-3c.pdf
  12. ^ Urban Renewal Authority.(2007, Dec 24). Progress of Lee Tung Street Project [Urban Renewal Authority]. Retrieved from: http://www.ura.org.hk/en/media/press-release/2007/20071224.aspx
  13. ^ Urban Renewal Authority(2007, Dec 24). Progress of Lee Tung Street Project [Urban Renewal Authority]. Retrieved from http://www.ura.org.hk/en/media/press-release/2007/20071224.aspx
  14. ^ http://www.ura.org.hk/tc/media/press-release/2007/20071224.aspx
  15. ^ Wong, C. F., & Ma, Y. S. (2016, February 1). 􏰁􏰂􏰃􏰄􏰅􏰆􏰇􏰈􏰉􏰊􏰋􏰌 􏰍􏰎􏰏􏰐􏰀􏰑􏰒􏰓􏰙􏰚􏰌􏰛􏰜􏰝􏰌􏰞􏰟. Ming Pao. Retrieved December 5, 2016, from http://news.mingpao.com/pns/dailynews/web_tc/article/20160201/s00001/1454263664619
  16. ^ Cablenews (2016, January 2). 利東街重建後商舖陸續營業. Cablenews. Retrieved December 5, 2016, from http://cablenews.i-cable.com/ci/videopage/news/473430/即時新聞/利東街重建後商舖陸續營業
  17. ^ Wong, H. (2016, February 1). Wedding Card St to be turned into ‘first class shopping’ district, developers accused of backtracking. Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved December 5, 2016, from https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/02/01/wedding-card-st-to-be-turned-into-first-class-shopping-district- developers-accused-of-backtracking/
  18. ^ "囍歡里成網民取笑對象". Ming Pao. 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  19. ^ "囍歡里鹵味店". The House News. 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  20. ^ C.K. Law, W.T. Chui, Y.C. Wong, K.M. Lee, L.S. Ho (2010), Study Report: The Achievements and Challenges of Urban Renewal in Hong Kong, Retrieved from:http://www.ursreview.gov.hk/eng/doc/Achievements%20n%20challenges%20in%20UR%20Final%20report%20 100505.pdf
  21. ^ C.K. Law, W.T. Chui, Y.C. Wong, K.M. Lee, L.S. Ho (2010), Study Report: The Achievements and Challenges of Urban Renewal in Hong Kong, Retrieved from http://www.ursreview.gov.hk/eng/doc/Achievements%20n%20challenges%20in%20UR%20Final%20report%20 100505.pdf
  22. ^ Ku, Agnes Shuk-mei (2012). "Remaking Places and Fashioning an Opposition Discourse: Struggle over the Star Ferry Pier and the Queen's Pier in Hong Kong". Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 30: 14. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°16′32.2″N 114°10′20.3″E / 22.275611°N 114.172306°E / 22.275611; 114.172306