First Urban Regeneration Experience - An Inspiration to Young Leaders
Jointly organised by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) and the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (TWGHs) with an aim to cultivate leadership and foster young people’s care for their community, in particular the problem of urban decay of old districts and the renewal work, the Young Leaders Programme has attracted 105 participating students from 7 schools for the third year. Since October 2019, the students have joined various docent tours and field trips, as well as leadership training workshops before coming up with creative regeneration proposals for ‘7 Mallory Street’, a preservation and revitalisation project in the Wan Chai old district. Taking into consideration the historic architecture and nearby community in the neighbourhood, the students’ proposals were tasked to enhance cross-generation harmony and social connectivity.
The field trip to ‘7 Mallory Street’ deepens students’ knowledge about the challenges of preservation and revitalisation of heritage buildings.
Students walk across the link bridge at 7 Mallory Street overseeing the preserved architecture from above.
Chow Kit-fung and Cheung Cheuk-nok (1st and 2nd from left in the back row) pose for a group photo with their team from TWGHs Wong Fut Nam College. Both of them say the Young Leaders Programme has inspired them with more ideas and possibilities over urban regeneration.
They contemplated from their own perspective and explored ways to draw young people’s interest in historical buildings. “Old buildings must be integrated with commercial and communal functions in order to appeal to the younger generation. Young people are attracted to historical architectures not only because of history, but the desired or fun activities taking place there also count. The historical values of preserved buildings could only be promoted with visits by young people,” said Chow Kit-fung from TWGHs Wong Fut Nam College.
Cheung Ip-sung, TWGH’s Senior Education Officer (Secondary Education).
Students attend leadership training as part of the programme content.
The Young Leaders Programme encountered numerous challenges this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the participating students had not been able to interview in person with residents in the old districts, Chow and his team members went home instead to chat with their senior family members. They asked the seniors about their own stories of Hong Kong and views on the preservation of heritage buildings, and were connected with people in the old neighbourhood.
The team proposed a series of different activities to be held at ‘7 Mallory Street’, including “Cinema Nostalgia” recollecting Hong Kong films in the golden age, “Virtual Game Corner” featuring Hong Kong’s traditional games and “Storyteller Forum” rebuilding collective memories of the community, which eventually earned the team the “Most Connective Community Award”. Cheung Ip-sung, TWGH’s Senior Education Officer (Secondary Education), complimented the winning project as people-oriented, diversified and creative. He believed the Young Leaders Programme has not only provided an invaluable opportunity for students to understand the mission of urban renewal, but also enabled students to engage with the community and listen to the elderly, as well as to solve problems for the community with creativity and team spirit. Leveraging on its success, the programme will be extended to cover more schools and students next year.
The Adjudication Panel formed by TWGHs Chief Executive Mr Albert SU (right in the upper photo) and URA Managing Director Ir WAI Chi-sing (left in the upper photo) exchange views with the students via online-conferencing on the Presentation Day (lower photo).