Victoria Harbour is a unique public asset of Hong Kong and one of the world’s most iconic urban backdrops.
Its 73km waterfront runs alongside commercial, industrial and residential areas.
In recent years the Government has launched several short-term projects and development plans to create an attractive and vibrant waterfront for citizens.
Adjacent to the Kwun Tong Bypass, the kilometre-long Kwun Tong Promenade was built in two stages opening in 2010 and 2015, providing 4.2 hectares of leisure and recreational space to the public.
Built on the site of the former Kwun Tong Public Cargo Working Area, the promenade’s design theme was “to bring Nature into our City”.
The designer, Architectural Services Department Senior Architect Andrew Nam said he hopes to bring a new look to the densely-populated district.
“On the promenade there are a lot of plants and grassland. Glass balustrades are used to enhance the proximity to the sea. People can enjoy Victoria Harbour without obstruction.”
Paper to promenade
The promenade offers dynamic facilities, including a multipurpose plaza, music and special lighting, a performance area with a capacity of 200 people, a children’s play area and pavilions.
Many spots feature the characteristics of paper recycling, as part of the seafront served as the loading and unloading area for the paper industry.
The observation platform in the middle of the promenade looks like stacks of recycled paper in compressed cubic blocks.
“This allows visitors to see the sea views at a higher level. We built a long ramp so wheelchairs can also reach this building easily.”
To reduce energy consumption, solar panels were installed on the top of the pavilions.
Walking into the promenade, visitors not only enjoy close-up views of the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, but also the panoramas of Victoria Harbour and Lei Yue Mun.
People working in Kwun Tong District can rest on the promenade in their spare time or lunch break. It is also a good leisure spot on public holidays.
Kwun Tong Promenade Stage One was awarded the Hong Kong Institute of Architects Annual Awards President’s Prize in 2011.
“Hong Kong people are always busy working. Family time is usually at night. I hope people can enjoy the promenade. For example, the mist in the multipurpose plaza is a good element. Children like playing with water. They can feel cool in summer. At night people can also enjoy the special lighting and music performances,” Mr Nam said.
Coast to coast
Opposite the Kwun Tong waterfront is Quarry Bay Promenade, comprising a seaside walkway, green zones and a pet garden providing a new leisure spot for dogs in the urban area.
Established in July 2010, the Harbourfront Commission plays an advocacy, oversight and advisory role to ensure the design, development and management of harbourfront issues are effectively integrated.
Chairman Nicholas Brooke said the commission hopes people can engage in various activities along the waterfront and be entertained.
“People can run here, people can walk here, they can walk their dog, they can do exercise, you see people doing tai chi. And the important thing is, they’re sharing the waterfront.
“One of the important things we have to understand is that this is a shared asset. It belongs to the community as a whole. And this is what we’ve achieved with the promenade here in Quarry Bay.”
Savouring the moment
In recent years the Government has launched several short-term projects to enhance the waterfront.
Secretary for Development Paul Chan said he hopes people can enjoy the waterfront as soon as possible before long-term development begins.
“In the short-term, for example, where we stand at the Central Harbour waterfront. You can see the observation wheel, there is also a pet garden, and also a very big event site for people to organise short-term events. So before the sites are available for long-term development, we try to make the best use of it.”
Numerous large scale activities have been held along the Central waterfront, including carnivals, food and drink events, drama and music performances, and markets, attracting many citizens and tourists.
Life on the water
For long-term development, the Planning Department is conducting the Urban Design Study for the Wan Chai North & North Point Harbourfront Areas.
Upon completion of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass, a substantial waterfront area will be available.
Public consultation has been conducted to seek views on the suggestion of introducing floating restaurants, sampan services in the typhoon shelter area, sunbathing facilities and floating swimming pools in the previous public cargo working area.
The Planning Department finished the Hong Kong Island East Harbour-front study in 2012.
A pedestrian boardwalk of about 2km was proposed to be constructed underneath the Island Eastern Corridor from Oil Street in North Point to Hoi Yu Street in Quarry Bay to enhance connectivity along the North Point waterfront.
The Civil Engineering & Development Department launched a stage one community engagement in February and found most people support the construction of a pedestrian boardwalk.
“It is our vision to develop this public asset into a vibrant, interesting and easily accessible area that the people of Hong Kong will love to come and enjoy and take pride in,” Mr Chan said.
The Government hopes to create a harbourfront that people can be proud of, through short-term projects, large scale studies and public engagement.
Photo Caption: Waterfront vision: Secretary for Development Paul Chan hopes to create a harbourfront that people will be proud of, through large scale studies and public engagement.
Building a vibrant waterfront