HBF NEWSLETTER | No. 16 | Mar 2011

Chairman’s Message

It has been a long time since our last issue in July 2007, and for that I offer our apologies. I am pleased to announce that in future we will bring you the Harbour Business Forum (HBF) e-Newsletter on a quarterly basis to keep you informed of our activities, outreach efforts and research.

HBF has had many considerable achievements to its credit over the past two and a half years. Let me begin by bringing you up to date on some of the major ones.


The year 2011 will be a busy and exciting one for HBF. We have started off with an interesting study about walkability in Hong Kong’s harbourfront areas. With the help of four bright and talented students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the United States, the results of this Study are now available on the HBF website. Concurrently, an extensive study on marine usage has been carried out since September last year with the aim of developing an integrated approach to the whole of Hong Kong’s harbour.

Starting this year, we hope to further strengthen our communications with you. We would like feedback and support from you as your participation is critical to the HBF fulfilling its mission. Please let me know if there is anything that you believe should be included in our newsletters.

Yours sincerely,

Rhydian Cox
Chair of the HBF Executive Committee

New Study Says the Shortest Route is the Most Important Factor When Choosing a Walking Route in Hong Kong

The ease with which a person can walk throughout an area is often referred to as its walkability. So how walkable is Hong Kong? A recent study from the Harbour Business Forum and Designing Hong Kong found that the top reason for choosing a route in Hong Kong was that is the shortest. This study titled “Measurement and Analysis of Walkability in Hong Kong” was undertaken by a team of four students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WP1) in the United States over the eight-week period.

Figure 1: Walkability is the extent to which the built environment is pedestrian friendly


The goals of the study were to develop a walking tool to assess the walkability and pedestrian experience of walking from Hong Kong’s hinterland to the harbourfront and vice versa, and to make recommendation plans for improvement. The first step was to gain a preliminary understanding of 16 harbourfront districts on both Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon through site evaluations. Next, the team surveyed about 100 pedestrians along the Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai harbourfront areas to better understand the public’s perception about walking in Hong Kong. Finally, the team selected four districts for an in-depth study through a Walkability Analysis Tool (WAT), which was developed specific for the Hong Kong context to measure walkability of given route from hinterland to harbourfront. The text criteria were connections, handicap accessibility, choke points and attractions and amenities. They then came up with a set of recommendations.

The results from the survey indicate that the shortest route is the most important factor when choosing a route, as it ranks as either the most popular choice or the second most popular choice in all weather conditions (Figure 2). This is echoed by the results of the other question, which proposes that the three most important factors for route selection in Hong Kong are “shortest route”, “feels safer”, and “less crowded”, shown below in Figure 3. This survey also suggests that the most popular option to avoiding weather issues is the subway system. An interesting correlation in the data, shown below in Figure 4, was the question correlated with race. Asians seem to prefer “shortest route”, “feels safer” and “less crowded”; while Caucasians seem to prefer “shortest route”, “ease of finding my way” and “better air quality” when selecting their routes. This data demonstrates that there are cultural biases when deciding route selection preferences.


Figure 2: Route Preferences by Weather


Figure 3: Reasons for Route Choices

Figure 4: Correlation between Race and Route Selection Reasons


The analyzed data were combined with the focus areas generated by the in-depth evaluations to create general recommendations for the improvement of walkability in all Hong Kong’s harbourfront districts as shown below.

  • Replace informal crossings with either zebra or cautionary crossings, determined by the pedestrian and vehicular traffic levels.
  • Reassess unmarked crossings to determine if a zebra crossing is needed or if a cautionary crossing will suffice.
  • More zebra crossings will increase the convenience and safety of crossing streets at grade-level.
  • More direct routes will decrease frustration and encourage walking more often.
  • More signs indicating handicap accessible routes will assist pedestrians in need, the elderly, and the many pedestrians with rolling carts or luggage.
  • More signage in less popular areas will assist those unfamiliar with the region.
  • More signage pointing to the harbourfront, preferably using the new harbour logo, will make the harbourfront easier to find.
  • More seating areas, particularly at the harbourfront, will give pedestrians visiting the waterfront a place to sit and enjoy it.
  • More public toilets, especially at the harbourfront, will increase the convenience of those visiting the waterfront.
  • Expand and connect waterfront promenades to enhance the leisure experience at the waterfront.

Luncheon on Walkability Study

HBF hosted a luncheon on 28th February to present the findings and recommendations at the conclusion of this study. The luncheon was well received and attended by senior officials from government, business and academia. It provided audience with practical insights to create a walkable city. The audience was very well impressed with the real life examples were given by the study team.

The PowerPoint Presentation and the full report are ready for download on our website.

Marine Study – the Largest and Most Comprehensive Study of the Potential Uses of Victoria Harbour

Have your ever wondered what it would be like if we could take a water taxi across the Victoria Harbour? It will definitely save travel time as well as help reduce road congestion. But how would it work? A Marine Study may just provide an answer. The Study commissioned by HBF is underway to take an in-depth look at the value of the Victoria Harbour as a marine resource. This is the first time in Hong Kong a study of this magnitude has been conducted focusing primarily on what is in the harbour and at land-water interface, rather than the activities around the harbour.

The primary goals of this study are three-fold:

  • To complete development of a comprehensive Excel database – a “harbour use audit” – of existing and planned marine/maritime and waterside uses and marine infrastructure assets and facilities. The data on this database will be translated into Google Earth map which is an excellent presentation model for pinpointing and viewing information about individual sites in the Victoria Harbour.
  • To review potential changes in marine activity in the future and the demand for new harbour uses and their implications for land/water interfaces.
  • To recommend specific projects and programmes to enable delivery of an integrated strategic plan to ensure a more cohesive, logical, attractive and vibrant harbour for all.

Initial findings of the study were presented to the Harbourfront Commission at their meeting on February 9. In general, the meeting participants agreed that this study was a very good initiative with great potential to develop an integrated strategic plan that would outline a framework for delivering a better harbour.

The study and the Google Earth map are expected to be completed with the full report and the map available on the HBF website by late April or early May this year. The results of this study will also be detailed in the next issue of this newsletter, which will reach you in June.


Harbourfront Commission – At a Glance

The Harbourfront Commission, established on 1 July 2010, inherits the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee’s legacy and takes on the role of an overarching, high-level champion for harbourfront issues to ensure that design, development and management are effectively integrated. The section below highlights key issues discussed at their recent meetings.

Overview of Land Use Framework for Victoria Harbourfront – The Planning Department recently gave an overview of the land use framework for Victoria harbourfront areas to the Harbourfront Commission members at their meeting. This master plan is designed to guide the planning and development of Victoria Harbour. To learn more about the plan, please review the discussion paper and the PowerPoint Presentation.

Short Term Tenancy Parking Sites at the Harbourfront – The Transport Department briefed the Harbourfront Commission on the current situation of the Short Term Tenancy (STT) parking sites located at or near the harbourfront and the way forward. For more details, please click here.

Public Engagement Programme for the Construction of Additional Floors above Central Piers Numbers 4 to 6 The Civil Engineering and Development Department will carry out a public engagement exercise in the first half of 2011 on the proposal for one-and-a-half additional floors above each of Central Piers Nos. 4 to 6 for dining, retail, waterfront related and public open space uses. For more details, please click here.

Lei Yue Mun Waterfront Enhancement Project The Tourism Commission provided supplementary information on the Lei Yue Mun Waterfront Enhancement Project. For more details, please click here.



To help us develop the newsletter further in the future, please send your feedback to: hbf@bec.org.hk


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