Hongkongers could help decide what the Kai Tak River will look like, courtesy of a design competition launched as part of efforts to revamp the neighbourhood.
The Civil Engineering and Development Department hopes to draw on the creativity of ordinary Hongkongers for ideas on how to transform eight hectares of open space around a 1km stretch of an unattractive nullah created decades ago when the city's former airport was built.
The drainage channel, which serves to disperse storm water from East Kowloon, is to be turned into a green river corridor as part of the government's Kai Tak Development project.
Architect Ivan Ho Man-yiu, an adviser to the department, said there would be no strict parameters on design. "It must be a concept that will make good use of open space," Ho said.
"We don't expect design submissions for a shopping centre or residential development."
Entries will envisage the open space running alongside the river and through the planned Kai Tak city centre, leading to a harbourfront promenade.
As well as the open category with a first prize of HK$40,000, the competition will have a professional category, with a first prize of HK$400,000.
The winning entries will be considered in the final blueprint, but it is not clear to what extent.
A panel of seven judges will assess entries based on creativity, connectivity, accessibility, integration with the neighbourhood, feasibility and cost-effectiveness.
"The purpose is to develop the open space for public enjoyment," Ying Fun-fong, head of the department's Kai Tak office, said. "We also want the design to enhance connectivity along the river banks."
Ying said no works would start until after 2018 and that hopefully the project would dovetail with the completion of the entire Kai Tak Development by 2021. She said no timetable could be given until the MTR's delayed Sha Tin to Central link was finished.