The District Study for Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok
Urban decay is a perennial problem across Hong Kong. The volume of aging building stock is dramatically increasing, a rate which significantly outpaces redevelopment. Coupled with the diminishing residual plot ratio in the urban area, this has posed an immense challenge to the Urban Renewal Authority (URA). Conventional urban renewal efforts were primarily project-based initiatives, limited in scope and dimension in resolving various urban issues. A more holistic, district-based approach is needed to deal with the extent, pace and multi-dimensional nature of urban decay. The URA commenced the District Study for Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok (the Study) in 2017 with the aim to devise a district-based urban renewal plan for the study area, and to explore new planning mechanisms to facilitate implementation.
Study Objectives and Contents
The Study covers the Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok districts with an area of about 212 hectares, comprising more than 3,300 buildings. Through a holistic district-based approach to urban renewal, the main objective is to map out a blueprint for restructuring and regenerating the old districts to enhance land use efficiency and optimise redevelopment potential. With a view to incentivizing market participation, new urban renewal strategies involving both URA and the private sector as well as institutional and implementation mechanisms are formulated.
The Study covered the following areas:
- Baseline review and data analysis covering various aspects which included physical attributes (e.g. building age and condition, density review, environmental and infrastructural capacities), urban issues, existing planning and implementation control mechanisms, renewal and restructuring opportunities as well as the concerns of the Yau Tsim Mong District Council in the past 5 years;
- Studies on specific topics including implementation mechanisms; and
- Formulation of the Master Renewal Concept Plans (MRCPs) options and recommendations.
Master Renewal Concept Plan Options
Three sets of MRCPs, representing the “+”, “0” and “-” scenarios, are developed with different assumptions on population, development intensity and resource allocation, which to a varying extent, would meet the public aspiration for a livable and quality environment. The 3 scenarios as compared to the current Outline Zoning Plans will increase the living space for the residents, increase affordable housing supply and job opportunities, augment open space and Government, Institution or Community provision, and improve walkability and environment. The MRCP will bring a new city image to the old district of Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok.
Institutional and Implementation Strategy
The findings of the baseline review suggest that the existing urban renewal model in high density districts with serious urban decay is not sustainable nor financially viable. New planning tools have been introduced in the Study, notable ones being transfer of plot ratio (TPR) and street consolidation area (SCA), to encourage private sector participation in order to step up the urban renewal momentum.
The Study has made a tremendous stride in planning for urban renewal in Hong Kong. The recommended mechanisms and strategy are not privy to Yau Mong but are equally applicable to other old areas in Hong Kong. A sustainable urban renewal programme needs collaboration of all stakeholders. The URA will further discuss with the Administration to flesh out the implementation details bearing in mind the need to incentivize more proactive market participation in urban renewal, with concerted efforts to create quality and vibrant urban living in Hong Kong.
The Information Booklet summarizing the findings and recommendations of the Study have can be downloaded in the link below.