Urban renewal brings positive and negative consequences to the living environment. On the one hand, policymakers, property developers and professionals always claim that urban renewal ensures a high standard of living in terms of physical quality of environment, facilities and economic return. For example, most of the time, newly built and reconstructed infrastructure and buildings give larger and safer living places for residents. There is also better provision of transportation systems public services. These physical improvements also attract visitors and investments, and in turn bring favourable economic return to the renewal districts. On the other hand, some sociologists argue that the improvement in so-called “standards of living” do not imply a better quality of life. Most of the time, the character of communities cannot be maintained under urban renewal. Many original residents, in particular the deprived, move away to remote or new districts where they lose contact with their former neighbours. Newly built environment and facilities under urban renewal always lack relationship with the original culture and identity. The collective memory of the districts, their social values and lifestyles are always destroyed. Making reference to a case study of an urban fishing village within Hong Kong, and reporting the method of research and design, this paper reviews and discusses the changes to and influences on the district under urban renewal. Through the proposed public design (i.e. street furniture design), the paper identifies and discusses some possible design directions to contribute to a sustainable urban living environment that improves the quality of the physical environment and maintains the original culture and identity of the place to eventually bring a “better quality of life”.
|Keywords:||Sustainability, Urban Living Environment, Street Furniture, Public Design, Culture, Identity, Standard of Living, Quality of Life|
Professor & Public Design Lab Leader, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Research Associate and Designer, Public Design Lab, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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