Opening up park design offers advantages to all

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 August, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 August, 1997, 12:00am

The actions taken by the Urban Services Department to seek public opinion on the redevelopment scheme prepared by the Architectural Services Department of the Hong Kong Government are commendable, but not enough. These appear to be more of an invitation to endorse an official scheme, than the offering of choices.

Past experience has shown that the public lacks the training to visualise potential options unless these are presented in forms more tangible than printed words.

The scheme presented by government appears to concentrate only on the provision of specific facilities. We feel that a more comprehensive redesign of the park, including integration with developments in adjacent areas, ought to be undertaken, to meet future needs and to maximise the park's significance to the people.

The Urban Council should conduct an open design competition for the future redevelopment of the park. Competitors should be briefed on the latitude of the requirements, and on the results of public opinion gathered to date. The design schemes would provide a range of choices to which the public and the client department can respond more meaningfully.

A design competition offers several advantages to the Urban Council, including: the opportunity to assess and compare a range of design options, provided at little cost to the Urban Council; the benefit of professional design input from those with many years of international experience in the design of public open spaces and parks; stimulation of public interest in the recreational amenities provided by the Urban Council; the most productive use of the public survey results; the greatest opportunity to achieve an appropriately integrated masterplan optimising the scale and historical significance of Victoria Park.

Landscape architects, being professionals dedicated to the design of quality external environments, should be invited to contribute to this endeavour.

C. K. WONG, Chairman Public Affairs Committee, Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects