Here's a suggestion for the hapless arts hub's new name: West Kowloon

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 March, 2012, 12:00am


The objectives of Michael Lynch, chief executive of the arts hub authority, for changing the name 'West Kowloon Cultural District' are understandable.

He wants to look forward and deliver a great project out of what he has been handed, without being constantly reminded of the chaotic process and idiotic decisions made in the past - to put all venues in one location; to put all in West Kowloon; to put all under one developer; and now even worse, to put all under one committee.

My recommendation for the new name is simple: 'West Kowloon'.

A Friday phone call with a friend in the future will be: 'Where shall we meet - Soho, Lan Kwai Fong or West Kowloon?'

'Yes, tonight at 8 in West Kowloon, the coffee shop of the Xiqu Centre.'

Why create a separate brand for the area when each venue will have its own brand, unique architecture and character?

Don't we want each venue to develop along its own dynamics and financially and artistically as independent as possible from the authority, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and whatever other oversight committee may want to meddle?

During years of consultation, people repeatedly asked that the district become part of everyday life and fully integrate with the neighbourhood and surrounding districts.

People do not want it to be an island on its own. So why set it apart with any other name but the clear location marker West Kowloon?

The authority should also be renamed the West Kowloon Authority and its remit extended beyond the incubation of the venues. It should have the responsibility for the overall urban design, planning and management of the area as a whole, including the streets, pavements, parks, promenade, commercial and residential buildings, as well as the underground car parks and public transport interchanges.

The authority should make sure that we don't end up with a few well-designed venues on top of and surrounded by the standard urban design disasters at the behest of the planning, transport and highways departments.

Yes, Michael Lynch, change the name, and change it for the right reasons - to reset the mandate and to move on from what has gone on before in Hong Kong.

Paul Zimmerman, CEO, Designing Hong Kong