Civic Exchange Launches WALKABILITY Initiative

CIVIC EXCHANGE LAUNCHES ‘WALKABILITY’ INITIATIVE

Civic Exchange is introducing a new program to advocate on behalf of pedestrians in the city. The goal of WALKABILITY is to encourage the government and businesses to take a “people-first” approach to urban planning.

HONG KONG, 14 December 2016 – Civic Exchange, an independent public policy think-tank in Hong Kong, announced today that it would launch a new integrated program called WALKABILITY.  The launch coincided with the release of a major report on Hong Kong neighbourhoods that is the culmination of two years of research, as well as a new website at civic-exchange.org/walkability/.

Civic Exchange also appointed a panel of experts who will take part in the WALKABILITY initiative. In the coming months, Civic Exchange, in collaboration with these experts, will offer recommendations on issues like the Government’s Hong Kong 2030+ Plan.

Our goal is to turn Hong Kong into the world’s most walkable, liveable city.

WALK21 HONG KONG CONFERENCE BLAZED NEW TRAILS

The WALKABILITY initiative was inspired by the Walk21 Hong Kong Conference in October 2016, which drew from around the world over 150 speakers, 600 delegates, as well as more than 500 participants to two public forums. It marked the first time this international conference series was held in Asia, as well as Hong Kong’s signing of the International Charter for Walking.

With generous support from the Lead Sponsor, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, as well as other sponsors and partners, the Conference successfully gathered the world’s experts to share their insights and created a buzz in town about walkability.  It was also pivotal to enhancing the local community’s understanding of Hong Kong’s walkability, as reflected by over 90% of the conference and public forum delegates.

Walkability has many levels: accessibility, connectivity and convenience, safety and comfort, and ultimately a way of connecting people with their environment and neighbourhood.  The essence of walkability is putting people first, which is increasingly being studied and championed all over the world. Increasing walkability in Hong Kong could also bring us closer to top liveable cities in the world (such as Vienna, Vancouver).

The full event report could be found at:

http://civic-exchange.org/walkability/2016/11/14/walk21-hong-kong-conference-the-way-forward/

 

NEW REPORT RELEASED ON WALKABILITY IN HONG KONG  

Civic Exchange released a major new report called “Measuring and Improving Walkability in Hong Kong”.  It includes the CEx WALKScore, a tool to measure walkability that is customized for Hong Kong. It takes into consideration Hong Kong’s density, mixed-land use, constant traffic, hilly topography and other challenges. The CEx WALKScore consists of two assessment checklists: one for the general public and one for professionals.

The report features four Hong Kong neighbourhoods audited using the CEx WALKScore. They were given a score out of a total of 42 points.

#1 Choi Hung Estate – Despite its being an old public housing complex, Choi Hung was found to be very walkable and have much teaching value for new developments. Score: 41. Walkability Ranking: Very good.

#2 Central – The financial district was found to be well-connected and efficient, but not the most interesting place to walk due to lack of public realm amenities and poor streetscapes. Score: 23. Walkability Ranking: Average.

#3 Mongkok – This dense, commercial area in Kowloon was found to have major connectivity issues and to be too crowded for comfort and efficiency. Score: 18. Walkability Ranking: Poor.

#4 Kwun Tong – This industrial area is currently found to be “not walkable.” With some obvious positive changes, however, its recent gentrification and transformation into a commercial district offers opportunities for improvement. Score: 11. Walkability Ranking: Poor.

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WALKABILITY’S VISION

  • Walkability as a key pillar in creating a more enjoyable city experience, lively neighbourhoods and community wellbeing
  • A people-first urban planning approach
  • Sustainable mobility prioritized over private vehicles

WALKABILITY’S MISSION

  • To advocate pedestrians’ rightful interests and improve the pedestrian experience
  • To call for walkability as an essential element and leading planning approach for New Town development, as well as urban area regeneration
  • To champion walking as a legitimate and important mode of transportation that deserves proper policies and governance
  • To reduce unsustainable vehicular growth and promote better management of vehicular as well as pedestrian road use
  • To address key walkability issues such as design, connectivity, as well as social, health, economic, and environmental impact
  • To promote constructive dialogue and solutions among stakeholders (the community, the government, and businesses)
  • To support initiatives related to walkability, sustainable mobility and place-making

PANEL OF EXPERTS

Civic Exchange’s WALKABILITY initiative will leverage the expertise of these top figures from the fields of architecture, business, design, transportation and public health to be the voice for pedestrians:

Ms. Maura Wong, CEO, Civic Exchange (Co-Convenor)

Mr. Christopher Law, Founding Director, Oval Partnership architectural firm (Co-Convenor)

Prof. Ester Cerin, Professor, Institute for Health and Ageing at Australian Catholic University

Prof. Yuen-Ying Chan, former Founding Director, Journalism and Media Studies Centre at HKU

Mr. Alain Chiaradia, Associate Professor, Department of Urban Planning and Design at HKU

Mr. Ivan Ko, Chairman of the China Real Estate Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong and International Chapter (CRECCHKI)

Prof. Becky Loo, Professor, Department of Geography at HKU

Ms. Canny Ma, Council Member, Hong Kong Institute of Urban Design

Mr. John So, Council Member, Urban Land Institute Hong Kong

Mr. Oren Tatcher, Principal, OTC Limited, a Hong Kong‐based planning and design firm

Mr. Tsang Wing Hang, President, The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in Hong Kong

Prof. Jean Woo, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Mr. Rocco Yim, Executive Director, Rocco Design Architects

Mr. Jim Walker, Founder & Director, Walk21 (Special Advisor)

 

MEDIA CONTACTS & IMAGES

Civic Exchange: www.civic-exchange.org

WALKABILITY: www.civic-exchange.org/walkability

Google Drive with downloadable photos, charts, releases and reports: http://bit.ly/14122016WalkPC

-ENDS-