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Historical sites can be heritage and cultural attractions

    The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Rafael Hui said today (April 2) that proper conservation and creative re-use could transfer historical sites into heritage and cultural attractions where local and overseas visitors could appreciate the unique history of Hong Kong.

     Speaking at an urban planning conference "When Creative Industries Crossover with Cities", Mr Hui cited a number of examples to demonstrate how creative industries could interconnect with the cityscape and the community.

     "The Central Police Station Compound is a notable example," he said. The Compound comprises the historical buildings of the Central Police Station, the Former Central Magistracy and the Victoria Prison.

     "Not only are these buildings impressive examples of classical colonial architecture, they have witnessed the history of Hong Kong and the development of our judicial system," Mr Hui said.

     "We have engaged with the public on its future use and received some very creative proposals. We hope that a project of this type will greatly enrich the cultural, retail and dining attractions in the area, and enhance our visitors' experience."

     Mr Hui also told the conference that the Urban Renewal Authority had planned to renovate 10 pre-war Chinese tenement houses in Wan Chai for creative and cultural use, while preserving the buildings' unique architectural form.

     A nine-storey factory building in Shek Kip Mei would soon be turned into a home for artists and designers, he said.

     "With these projects, we hope and expect that the character and landscape of the areas will evolve with the growth of these creative industries, leading to the evolution of supporting activities and ultimately, to urban regeneration," Mr Hui said.

     He cited the conversion and restoration of the Old Dairy Farm Building as an example. It was built in 1892 and now used by the Fringe Club, one of Hong Kong's leading contemporary arts centres.

     Today's conference focused on the significant role that creative industries play, not only in the arts and culture, but in helping shape the image of our cities, provide job opportunities and contribute to economic growth.

     "Hong Kong has long been a blend of Oriental and Western cultures and this is what makes us such a unique, international city.

     "We have an open and free society. We have the rule of law and rigorous protection of intellectual property rights. All these have provided a solid foundation for the development of creative industries in Hong Kong," Mr Hui said.

Ends/Monday, April 2, 2007
Issued at HKT 10:48


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