Shrubs push people out of so many areas in Victoria Park

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 March, 2016, 12:16am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 March, 2016, 12:16am

The future park at West Kowloon Cultural District will have sizeable and rolling grass lawns with areas under the shade of trees.

This is what parks should be like. But at Victoria Park, landscape design is being stood on its head. Close to a quarter (if not more) of its total area, including some of the elevated surfaces, is occupied by shrubs.

In Hong Kong, we are accustomed to witnessing nature and man compete for space. But at Victoria Park, the limitations are self-imposed. The growing of the shrubs means that substantial areas in the park are out of bounds for the public. There is the central lawn near the football grounds, but successive alterations to the design of the park seem to have reduced rather than increased its size. And trees are absent on the lawn (which often displays substantial bare spots) to provide respite from the summer heat.

Perhaps the authorities could learn from Sapporo, a city which would have been visited by many as they travel to Hokkaido, one of Hongkongers’ favourite travel destinations.

Sapporo’s Nakajima Park is about the same size as Victoria Park, and is alsoclose to the city’s busiest area, and features undulating green spaces punctuated with beautiful trees. Sapporo is a city evidently less affluent than Hong Kong, and with probably much more expensive labour costs. Yet the municipality there has been able to design, look after and sustain a public park lush with green lawns as well as trees (some of them turning a glorious colour during autumn) which do not monopolise space but, rather, invite people to sit under them.

Given the resources that we have, and the very much greater need for green amenities, the government should rectify the present curtailment of space at Victoria Park and try to create from the reclaimed areas usable green spaces on a par with, if not better than, those that grace Nakajima Park.

Clemence Yeung, Admiralty