Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
On 24 February, Civic Exchange launched a major report on this issue. You can download the full document here:
“Unopened Space: Mapping Equitable Availability of Open Space in Hong Kong”

Update: About 100 participants attended our 28 April seminar with researcher Carine Lai and landscape architect Gavin Coates.

Civic Exchange held an afternoon seminar on 28 April about Public Open Space (POS), the subject of a long-term project that addresses parks and green space in Hong Kong neighbourhoods.

Planning researcher Carine Lai untangled the definition of open space and discussed its distribution throughout Hong Kong, while landscape architect Gavin Coates shared his insights on how design can make the best use of limited open space in our urban environment. They discussed strategies to improve the quality, quantity and accessibility of Hong Kong’s urban open space.

This talk followed Civic Exchange’s recent publication of a major report, “Unopened Space: Mapping Equitable Availability of Open Space in Hong Kong” , which  quantifies the disparities in open space between different districts and socio-economic groups. The 2017 report, which is made possible by crowdfunded donations from the Hong Kong public, gives recommendations on how to upgrade government planning standards, identifies neighbourhoods with the greatest shortfall of open space, and suggests strategies for improvement.


Carine Lai, the lead researcher and author of the “Unopened Space” report, is now a project manager with a focus on urban planning research at The WYNG Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to empowering the community through knowledge. Carine was a project manager at Civic Exchange from 2010 to 2017, where she researched wellbeing in Asian cities, walkability, urban design, urban renewal and governance in Hong Kong. She holds a master’s degree in urban planning from University College London and a bachelor’s degree in political science and studio art from Tufts University. She will discuss her most recent findings.

Gavin Coates has worked as a landscape architect in Hong Kong for more than 30 years. From 2005 to 2015 he was involved with the design and site supervision of the Greening Master Plan programme instigated by the Civic Engineering and Development Department. He now serves as Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. He is also known as an illustrator, cartoonist and children’s book author. He will share his thoughts on how we design, manage, use and abuse Hong Kong’s limited open space.

Photo credit – Carsten Schael


Paul Zimmerman, a native of the Netherlands, made Hong Kong his home in 1984. He is a Civic Exchange board director, an elected District Councillor, and the CEO of Designing Hong Kong, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting livability in Hong Kong. Paul has a Masters in Social Science (Economics) from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, and a Masters of Arts (Transport Policy and Planning) from The University of Hong Kong.

Media Materials:

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn