Civic Exchange today published a bilingual citizens’ guide entitled “The User’s Guide to the Town Planning Process: How the Public can Participate in the Hong Kong Planning System”. This User’s Guide aims to demystify Hong Kong’s town planning process, taking into account recently implemented changes to the Town Planning (Amendment) Ordinance (TPAO). The guide book will help Hong Kong people participate more effectively in the planning of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong people have become more active in challenging the Government’s and/ or developers’ planning proposals put before the Town Planning Board over the past few years. Furthermore, changes to the Town Planning Ordinance (TPO) have made the role of the public in the town planning process more important. Greater opportunities now exist for Hong Kong people to take part in the process and be more effective in
defining Hong Kong’s future development.
“Although the Government has long recognised that Hong Kong’s town planning procedures needed to be updated to allow greater public participation, resulting in amendments to the TPO, planning procedures today still remain complex and not easy for ordinary citizens to understand and use to their advantage,” said Yanyan YIP, Civic Participation Programme Manager, Civic Exchange.
The guide book explains the planning system and the new town planning process in Hong Kong which was introduced on 10 June 2005 when the TPAO came into effect.
It gives concrete information about how people can make changes to a plan and make applications for planning permission. It also provides examples of how the process works and where Hong Kong people can get involved as well as including sources of information about the process and information about available professional assistance.
“The trend of being more active in the planning process is likely to continue as people demand a higher quality of life in Hong Kong and the Government plans to launch more large infrastructure development projects. NGOs, professional bodies and academia are increasingly building alliances to fight government proposed projects.
We see the value in helping Hong Kong people better understand the new town planning process,” YIP added.
A parallel bilingual guide has also been created for Town Planning Board members so that they can better understand their legal duties given the changes to the TPAO.