Email this article
Speech by CE at the Hong Kong Institute of Architects 55th Anniversary Conference (English only)(with photo/video)

     Following is the speech delivered by the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, at the Hong Kong Institute of Architects 55th Anniversary Conference held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre today (November 5):

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dominic,

     I am very delighted to join you all this morning.
     First of all, congratulations to the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) on your 55th Anniversary and on staging this very meaningful conference.

     Also, a very warm welcome to all our visitors. I hope you enjoy your stay with us in Hong Kong.

     The theme of this conference, "Megalopolis and ArchitectureĦ¨ is farsighted and inspirational. Indeed, we have come to expect nothing less from our architect community over the years to be farsighted and inspirational.

     Since the first trains started running along the Kowloon-Canton Railway more than 100 years ago, Hong Kong has been on the fast track towards becoming a major city and a modern-day metropolis.

     To become a successful megalopolis, we will have to use all our vision and experience to link up more closely and more effectively with nearby cities throughout the Pearl River Delta which we in Hong Kong call the PRD.

     United Nations-Habitat has estimated the population of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macao-Zhuhai area, which comprises only part of the PRD at around 150 million residents. That makes it the largest mega-region by population in size. It is bigger than similarly connected regions in Japan, or Brazil.

     Our region is a relatively wealthy one with a dynamic manufacturing base. It is also quickly transforming into a global hot-bed for ideas, innovation and creativity.

     Our architects have helped to create Hong Kong as one of the best connected cities anywhere. Boulevards, waterfront promenade, pedestrian bridges, roads, railways stations and more all contribute to our city's reputation as a great place to live and work.

     Our famous cityscape is a testament to the architectural know-how that has evolved here. The vision of our architects has helped build a city that is greater than the sum of all its parts. This is a key to Hong Kong's ability to compete alongside far larger and more established places.

     All-in-all, it is a case of "so far, so good". But the theme of this conference indicates that even bigger challenges lie in wait for our architects, as well as engineers, city planners and governments.

     As the PRD continues to converge and evolve as a dynamic megalopolis, the Central Government of China has clearly stated its ambition to establish our region as one of the most competitive in the world by 2020.

     Achieving this goal will depend on how successfully we can collaborate with our neighbours. We must design a region that capitalises on the unique strengths of different cites within it. I am not just referring to economic strengths, but also cultural, creative and artistic strengths.

     Last year, we signed the Framework Agreement on Hong Kong-Guangdong Co-operation. Among other things, this provides a more effective platform to collaborate on city planning.

     In addition, the National 12th Five Year Plan pledges to support deeper cross-boundary co-operation and strengthen planning and co-ordination. It also supports an improved transportation system within the PRD region.

     In other words, there is a clear commitment from all sides to work together in making sure that our megalopolis evolves in a swift and co-ordinated fashion.

     Hong Kong architects have a great deal of expertise and experience to contribute to the vision of establishing a successful and efficient mega-region. The same qualities of connectivity and efficiency that have been at the heart of our city's development should be promoted throughout the PRD region.

     One of our most pressing challenges is cross-boundary connectivity.

     On average more than half a million people cross six land boundary crossing points between Hong Kong and the Mainland every day. Tens of thousands more travel to and fro by air and sea. During festival seasons, the number is likely to be doubled.

     Among the Ten Major Infrastructure Projects that I set out in my Policy Address in 2007, at the beginning of our current term, four deal with cross-boundary challenges.

     They are the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Express Line and Hong Kong-Shenzhen Joint Development of the Lok Ma Chau Loop.

     In addition, we are forging ahead with the planning and development of the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point.

     These projects will help us to sustain the long term development of our region by facilitating economic and social integration and development within the PRD.

     Ladies and gentlemen, there are indeed many exciting challenges ahead for our architects in Hong Kong and around the region. We should also remember that great architecture not only has to look great, it also to be great for the environment, great for the end-users, great for business and great for our cultural heritage.

     At the same time, the rise of the megalopolis requires a fresh and radically new perspective in promoting co-operation beyond geographical, legal and conceptual boundaries.

     Governments in the region will also have to play their part by collaborating more closely and remaining open-minded to the ideas of others.

     I congratulate the HKIA on staging this conference which brings together the key stakeholders in the development of our region.

     I would also like to thank the HKIA and its members for their contributions to our city's extraordinary development over the past 55 years.

     I wish you all a very enjoyable and fruitful conference.

     Thank you.

Ends/Saturday, November 5, 2011
Issued at HKT 11:32


Print this page