CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia Holds ‘Urban Planning and Climate Adaptation’ Forum
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Jockey Club Initiative Gaia (‘Gaia’) held a forum titled ‘Urban Planning and Climate Adaptation’ at the Christian Family Service Centre last Friday (17 February). The forum, which falls under the Environment and Climate Change Forum Series, gathered experts from different sectors to share their knowledge about, and insights into, adapting to climate change through urban planning. The event attracted about 280 participants from the public and private sectors, local schools and tertiary institutions.
Mitigation, adaptation and resilience are the three major principles involved in combating climate change. In line with other international cities, Hong Kong has already initiated various measures, such as the ‘Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030’ study, undertaken by the Planning Department of the HKSAR Government. The study reviews the planning strategy and spatial development directions to facilitate sustainable urban planning and design that will benefit Hong Kong in the face of the great challenges arising from climate change.
Ms Amy Cheung, Assistant Director of Planning of the HKSAR Government, was the keynote speaker. Other guest speakers included Dr Eunice Mak, President of the Hong Kong Institute of Planners, and Prof. Edward Ng, Yao Ling Sun Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture of CUHK. The experts and practitioners discussed different ways to tackle the environmental challenges resulting from climate change. The forum was chaired by Prof. Wilson Yik, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture of CUHK.
At the forum, Ms Cheung pointed out that climate change was indeed a beacon urging for climate-readiness. Hong Kong, as a global city upholding its environmental stewardship, should get itself prepared for the challenges of climate change. Under ‘Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030’, a Smart, Green and Resilient City Strategy was put on the agenda. It called for an innovative, vigilant, adaptive and forward-looking mindset permeating all levels, aspects and stages of city planning and development. This would require a collaborative effort of all, and the Government was currently revisiting the territorial planning strategy for Hong Kong together with the community through open dialogues.
During the question-and-answer session, participants asked about implementing sustainable urban planning which resulted in a fruitful discussion among the speakers.
After the forum, a Green Leadership Camp award ceremony under the Go Green Community – Jockey Club Carbon Reduction Partnership Scheme was held to commend the green student leaders for their successful completion of their training and post-camp practice. Students from 20 secondary schools participated in the Green Leadership Camp in last July, where they learnt how to organise and lead environmental initiatives. They applied the knowledge and skills they learnt from the camp to organise various green activities from August to December 2016, benefiting more than 10,000 people in different communities. One of the green student leaders noted, ‘Alone we cannot do much for environmental conservation, but good leadership is crucial to leveraging the power of large groups of people.’ The students will continue to take on the role of ‘green leaders’ and are eager to persuade people to adopt a low-carbon lifestyle in their families and communities.
CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia
CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia is a five-year community engagement programme, launched in 2012 by CUHK, with a generous donation of HK$70 million from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. In support of Gaia’s commitment to paving the way to a sustainable future for Hong Kong, the programme’s aim is to promote environmental conservation and sustainability in local communities, through public education and carbon-reduction partnerships with schools and non-governmental organisations.
To draw on the collective wisdom in the community and to encourage active public participation in tackling various environmental issues, CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia has organised the Environment and Climate Change Forum Series. The forums invite experts and practitioners from different fields, as well as members of the public, to offer different perspectives on our environmental challenges and the impact of climate change, and to propose feasible solutions.
The first of its kind in the world, the Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change (MoCC), maintained by Gaia, is open to the public with free admission. The MoCC showcases the ‘Three Poles’ (the North Pole, the South Pole and Mount Everest) collection of renowned Hong Kong explorer Dr Rebecca Lee, innovative research on the environment, energy and sustainability initiated by CUHK, and the Jockey Club’s initiatives to promote green living in the community.
More details of the CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia can be found at www.cuhk.edu.hk/gaia.