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Society

Educating the Community

The social movement since June 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly affected a number of URA activities planned to enhance public understanding of urban renewal. Nevertheless, the Urban Renewal Exploration Centre (UREC) located in H6 CONET still received more than 3,000 visitors and the Urban Renewal Resource Centre (URRC) at Tai Kok Tsui served around 16,000 members of the public making enquiries and conducting briefings, meetings and community activities on matters relating to building repair and maintenance. The URRC has also served as a venue for mediation meetings relating to building repair and maintenance, property valuation and construction, arranged by the Joint Mediation Helpline Office since 2014. A total of 44 mediation meetings were held at URRC during the year.

To support students’ online study at home during school suspension due to the implementation of infection control measures, the URA ran an educational series on its Facebook to enhance students’ knowledge on urban renewal. A total audience reach of over 190,000 was achieved in about three months’ time.

 

Community Education

Reaching Out to the Community

Our care for the people extends beyond our urban renewal works. As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme, the URA has partnered with local universities and non governmental organisations (NGOs) in the Community Service Partnership Scheme (CSPS) where URA colleagues and university students join hands to serve residents of old districts under various programmes. In 2019/20, the upcycling programme, which transforms discarded wood plank into tailor-made home furniture for low-income families, has extended its service scope by partnering with The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, in addition to The University of Hong Kong and The Chinese University of Hong Kong, to form a total of 15 volunteer teams with over 80 students participated in the project, thereby increasing the number of low-income family beneficiaries from 12 to 15. Since the launch of the CSPS in 2012/13, more than 1,300 volunteers have achieved a total of 8,500 service hours, benefitting over 2,400 people.

For more details on other initiatives to engage the community across urban renewal districts for social harmony and caring, please visit youth education and volunteer services.

 

CSPS scheme

Caring for the underprivileged

Besides adopting a people-oriented approach when delivering our core businesses of redevelopment and rehabilitation, the URA also seeks opportunities to engage our partners and help people in need. During 2019/20, the URA continued to offer some renovated flats in the acquired properties at Wing Lee Street and Staunton Street, as well as units at our rehousing blocks to non-govermental organizations and social enterprises for them to provide short-term tenancies at below market rent for underprivileged residents.

As an initiative to offer assistance to families residing in poor living environment of aged buildings, especially the elderly, the URA sponsored two local organisations to launch services titled “Home Repair Services Community Programmes” in Kowloon City and Sham Shui Po districts in 2018/19 home visits to and free repair of household appliances for about 600 underprivileged families. In view of the positive response, the programme was expanded with more local NGO partners engaged, serving a larger catchment area in the old districts in 2019/20. The programme was also expanded in scope to improve the living condition of elderly tenants of the URA projects by providing a comprehensive refurbishment of the public rental housing units where they would be rehoused.

 

Home Repair

Cultivating Arts and Culture in Old Districts

Neighbourhood is more than its physical environment. It is the local culture and characteristics that create its identity. An appreciation of the local arts and culture will allow for a deeper understanding of the community while providing enjoyment. In 2019/20, URA’s “Arts and Cultural Partnership Programme in Old Urban Districts: Pilot Scheme” supported a total of eight new and ongoing programmes, reaching out to 41,813 people. These programmes covered an array of activities to enliven the old urban districts by bringing enjoyment to local residents, and for other members of the public to appreciate the local characteristics. Since the launch of the scheme, the URA has supported a total of 61 arts and cultural programmes, benefitting about 677,104 people in enhancing their living quality. For more details, please visit: community arts and culture programmes.

 

Arts and culture in neighbourhood

 

Diversified Urban Space for Health and Happiness

Over the years, as far as practicable, the URA has endeavoured to include open space and community/institutional areas in our moderate to large scale projects. Our redevelopment projects in various districts have provided easily accessible community and institutional facilities, including residential care homes for the elderly, youth centres, health centres, markets, cooked food centres and an indoor stadium to meet different needs of the residents. For better utilisation of open space for public enjoyment, the URA continued its place-making initiatives to create synergies of the open spaces of its projects.

 

Enrich the living quality of residents in old districts

Promoting Walkability

The URA puts much effort in creating walkable urban neighbourhood to improve the living quality of residents and brings social benefits by easing the pressure on transport infrastructure, reducing car dependency, alleviating traffic congestion, and supporting the local economy and mixed communities. To this end, the concept of pedestrian priority must be embraced in all levels of planning and design in its projects to promote walkability. Redevelopment projects in Kowloon City and To Kwa Wan, launched under the district-based approach, envision to create a pedestrian-friendly and accessible neighbourhood through restructuring and re-planning of the existing pedestrian and vehicular traffic network. The URA will continue to hasten efforts to cultivate a healthy and low-carbon neighbourhood and elevate the urban quality of life for the local community.