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City Gallery reopens after renovation

The City Gallery located in Central is the first planning and infrastructure gallery in Hong Kong. Resuming full operation in May 2021 after partial renovation, the gallery now houses a number of new interactive games and selfie spots. Here is a brief introduction.New interactive and fun elementsHong Kong is developing rapidly. To keep up with the pace, the City Gallery has replaced various exhibits and facilities on the G/F, 3/F and 4/F with more interactive and fun elements. Ms Chan Hau-yin, Margaret, Chief Town Planner (Atg.) of the Planning Department, says that the visitors’ refreshing experience starts right at the moment they step into the gallery, as the “Planning Eye” next to the reception counter will take them on an amazing journey to explore the challenges and opportunities faced by Hong Kong in the course of city development, and display our planning vision through the interactive videos shown on the eyeball-shaped LED and 3D geographic model of Hong Kong combined with audiovisual effect. The models are made with great precision in every detail. The aircrafts and vessels projected go along the same flight paths and fairways as in the real world. Development experiences of different citiesNear the “Planning Eye” are the new interactive exhibits “City Impression” and “Great World Cities”. With the touch screens, visitors can compare Hong Kong with other cities in terms of urban form, population density and their skyscrapers, and learn about the good practice of some cities in achieving sustainable development goals, e.g. the Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul, South Korea; the “SMART Tunnel” (Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the experience in zero emission gained by Copenhagen, Denmark. A time-journey reflecting the course of developmentNew items have been added to the 3/F after the renovation, including the interactive “Planning Timeline” and “Coastlines & Skylines”, which show visitors the development and changes in Hong Kong and along the Victoria Harbour since 1900. One level up on the 4/F, the old and new photos shown on the touch screens of “Hong Kong Now and Then” enable visitors to visualise the evolvement of different places in our city. The “Treasure Hunt”, another section on the same floor, displays miniature models of modern and old buildings, passenger carriers of different periods and playground delights of the old days, such as the merry-go-round, as well as the long and tall metal slide. Inclusive facilities in the galleryMs Margaret Chan says that, taking the people-oriented approach, the City Gallery has incorporated various inclusive facilities to suit the needs of different age groups and people with disabilities. For instance, in a commanding position overlooking the Victoria Harbour on the 4/F stands an architectural illustration of the Victoria Harbour. It is equipped with a tactile-audio interaction system to let visually impaired visitors appreciate the features along both sides of our harbour through touching, braille dots and audio descriptions. Moreover, the “Community Lounge” on the same floor provides a cosy environment with seats where visitors can relax and read books about town planning and infrastructure development. The City Gallery is a unique exhibition venue. It briefs the public on the major planning proposals and infrastructure projects in Hong Kong, as well as the development directions of our city. The Government will encourage the public to visit the gallery, and to join hands to make Hong Kong a liveable, competitive and sustainable Asia's world city. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)

Smart Planning in Digital Era

Smart city development can improve people's livelihood and make Hong Kong a more liveable city. Earlier on, the Planning Department (PlanD) has completed the feasibility study on the “Development of a Common Spatial Data Infrastructure - Built Environment Application Platform” (CSDI-BEAP Study), which aims at developing prototype applications on specific areas such as city planning, infrastructure and environment based on spatial data, in order to facilitate implementation of works and projects, increase efficiency in planning and development, and enhance collaboration among Government bureaux and departments to provide better services to the public.Enhancing efficiency in planning through technologyThe PlanD is committed to enhancing the efficiency of its town planning work through innovation and technology. These include the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in surveys and preparation of 3D spatial data; application of satellite images, remote sensing and geo-informatics to provide an updated overview on the distribution of land uses and vegetated areas; development of the 3D Planning and Design System, which displays the cityscape of Hong Kong through 3D photo-realistic models and, by applying the existing planning data and information, helps town planners to formulate and analysis design schemes. Moreover, the PlanD completed the CSDI-BEAP Study in early 2020.From “Supermarket” to “Kitchen”The Government is pressing ahead with the implementation of the Common Spatial Data Infrastructure (CSDI) to facilitate integration, exchange and sharing of geospatial information. Mr Wong Wai-yin, Vincent, Senior Town Planner of the PlanD, says that the CSDI is like a “supermarket” in which a wide variety of data and services are available, while the Built Environment Application Platform (BEAP) is like a “kitchen”, where selected ingredients (i.e. the spatial data) from the supermarket can be processed into applications relating to built environment. Under the CSDI-BEAP Study, a total of ten prototype applications on different thematic areas have been developed, including those on “planning and land use”, “infrastructure and engineering” and “landscape, environment and conservation”. Planning and land use analysisMr Vincent Wong shares with us two prototype applications relating to town planning and livelihood. The first one is on “Government, Institution or Community (GIC) Facilities and Open Space Analysis”. This prototype application displays the type and location of the existing and planned GIC facilities and open spaces in a 3D map environment, and generates a summary table to facilitate analysis of future demands for these facilities based on the population projection inputs of a particular area and the standards stipulated in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines.Town planners are also concerned about with the spatial distribution of different types of community facilities. The prototype application on “GIC Facilities and Open Space Analysis” helps town planners conduct service area analysis to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the distribution of community facilities and residential buildings, so that new community facilities can be set up at the most suitable locations.Visualisation and Analysis of Urban Green InfrastructureThe other prototype application is on “Visualisation and Analysis of Urban Green Infrastructure”. Mr Vincent Wong says that, for a city closely packed with high-rise buildings like Hong Kong, green and blue assets (i.e. urban infrastructure relating to water and vegetation) are vital for maintaining its livability and sustainability. This prototype application displays different types of green and blue information, and provides more reference materials for built environment planning.Encouraging more greening studiesMr Vincent Wong adds that in the CSDI-BEAP Study, academic research results on green indices are compiled and added to this prototype application. With information such as vegetation covers, town planners can better analyse the impact on the green indices brought by development projects. Such information is also useful in environmental analysis, e.g. urban heat island effect and microclimate impact, and can be applied in district planning in respect of tree planting, pedestrian facilities and walking environment enhancement and more. It is hoped that this prototype application will encourage greening-related studies and thereby enhance the quality of town planning.International and local recognitionIt is grateful that the CSDI-BEAP Study won three international and local awards, namely, the best Asia Pacific Smart City project under the “Urban Planning and Land Use” category of IDC Smart City Asia Pacific Awards 2020, the 2020 Grand Award for Excellence under the International Society of City and Regional Planners, and the Certificate of Merit of the Hong Kong Institute of Planners Awards 2020. The PlanD expects to leverage the prototype applications developed under the BEAP, to help build Hong Kong into a smart, green and resilient city, and to foster co-creation among the Government, industry, academia and the public to further promote smart city development in Hong Kong for the benefit of the public. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)