Speech by CS at opening reception of "City Smart - Development in Europe: Vienna" exhibition (English only) (with photos/video)
Professor Hess (Deputy Director of the European Union Academic Programme, Professor Hans Werner Hess), Claudia (Consul General of Austria in Hong Kong and Macao, Dr Claudia Reinprecht), Mrs Vassilakou (Deputy Mayor and Vice-Governor of Vienna and Executive City Councillor for Urban Planning, Traffic and Transport, Climate Protection, Energy and Public Participation, Mrs Maria Vassilakou), Professor Wong (Vice-President (Research and Development) of the Hong Kong Baptist University, Professor Rick Wong), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening. It is my pleasure to join you at the opening ceremony of the exhibition on "City Smart - Development in Europe: Vienna". I learnt first-hand about Vienna's "smart city" initiatives during my visit to Vienna in May 2014, particularly in my meeting with Mayor Häupl. I told him then that there are a lot of similarities between Hong Kong and Vienna, such as the housing supply, challenges for land development, the demand for transport, etc and Vienna's experiences are indeed very useful references for Hong Kong. I am therefore very pleased to welcome this exhibition and the related debate to Hong Kong, which I am sure will mark a broader Hong Kong-Vienna dialogue in building better cities.
So may I first express my gratitude to the European Union Academic Programme and the Austrian Consulate General for organising this exhibition.
Hong Kong has evolved from a fishing village to an entrepôt, a manufacturing centre, and now an international financial centre and bustling metropolis of over 7 million inhabitants. We have transformed into a compactly built city partly due to the hilly terrain with limited land for development, and partly attributed to the pursuit of an integrated environment, transport and land use planning policy over the years.
"Smart city" is pursued by governments around the world with the objectives of ensuring sustainable growth and competitiveness of a city and enhancing the quality of life of its people. The HKSAR Government is determined to improve the liveability of our city. Hence, in our recently promulgated strategic territorial plan, "Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030", or what we call "Hong Kong 2030+", we outline our vision of Hong Kong that is a liveable, competitive and sustainable "Asia's World City".
We are very grateful to have this valuable opportunity to share an "urban dialogue" with our Viennese experts on issues of common interest. In particular, how our strategic planning could help enhance the liveability of our city. Speaking on liveability, it is not just about the physical environment, but all elements that contribute to the quality of life and well-being of its people. Housing choices, job opportunities, education, healthcare, etc all count.
Our strategic spatial planning and urban design have a key role to play in improving our liveability. To make our city more liveable, we will continue to underscore compact development using railway as the backbone of public transport network to optimise the use of urban space. We will conserve areas with high ecological, landscape and historic value, and also optimise the public's appreciation and enjoyment of our green and blue assets.
I like the idea of thinking about a city as an "urban laboratory" where we can try out new ideas, especially innovative ones. In Hong Kong, we are proposing to adopt a smart, green and resilient city strategy, which embraces a whole array of aspects concerning the built environment. The essence is to minimise resources demand, promote low-carbon smart economy and living, enhance city efficiency, promote business productivity, improve the quality of living, and enhance climatic resilience.
Hong Kong is also facing the "double ageing" phenomenon, that is to say, our growing and ageing population and building stock. According to projections, the proportion of our elderly population is expected to rise significantly from about 15 per cent in 2014 to about 36 per cent in 2064. That the "old old", in other words, the population aged 85 or above, will rise from the current 2.2 per cent to 10.1 per cent in 2064. While the longevity of our population is a tribute to our advanced healthcare system, the ageing population will inevitably reduce our labour force.
The ageing population entails the provision of more community, medical and residential care facilities. Adjustments to urban and building design will be needed to create an age-friendly, barrier-free built environment to facilitate active ageing. As proposed in "Hong Kong 2030+", we will promote an inclusive and supportive built environment to cater for the needs of all ages.
The second part of our "double ageing" phenomenon is our rapidly ageing building stock. The rapid economic growth in the post-war decades led to a large boom in construction in Hong Kong. However, these buildings have shown signs of age after all these years. Given the large stock of rapidly ageing buildings, especially in the densely developed districts, we need to step up the rejuvenation of our dilapidated urban areas.
The Government will explore collaboration amongst relevant stakeholders in the community to develop Hong Kong into a smart city. Public Private Partnership will form the core of development plans and initiatives with a view to strengthening our innovation and technology culture and encouraging commercial enterprises, in particular start-ups, to develop new applications and solutions.
Innovation and technology can improve our everyday life in a wide range of aspects, including communication, transportation, healthcare, education, the environment, public order, consumer spending and food safety. The Government has set aside $500 million to set up an Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living to finance projects that make use of innovation and technology to improve our daily life.
Connectivity is the cornerstone of a smart city. We will progressively expand the coverage of free Wi-Fi services by doubling the number of hotspots within three years. These are hotspots under Wi-Fi.HK. The Government will also offer free Wi-Fi services at all youth service centres and study rooms, and work with schools to improve the quality of their Wi-Fi services in order to support e-learning. We will establish a digital framework and standards suitable for smart city development in Hong Kong.
Benefiting from technological advancement, we are trying to build a common spatial data infrastructure and a robust network of information and communications technology infrastructure to help manage our city. We will formulate policies on big data application and continue to encourage public service bodies and commercial organisations to open up more data.
We have commissioned a consultancy study to draw up a blueprint for developing Hong Kong into a smart city, to be completed in mid-2017. The blueprint will cover policy objectives and strategy, development plans, governance arrangements, digital infrastructure, legal framework and public-private collaboration. It will also map out various development plans up to 2030 with initiatives to achieve our long-term development goals having regard to local circumstances. These plans are expected to be people-centric, and aimed at making use of technology and open data to address urban challenges faced by Hong Kong.
Vienna is the top scorer in the Mercer's 2016 Quality of Living Survey. We treasure the opportunity to share and exchange with Vienna in smart city development. To strengthen co-operation between Austria and Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Smart City Consortium signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Austrian Technology Corporation in Hong Kong in January this year.
Our Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas Yang, visited Vienna in May this year and met with Mrs Vassilakou, Deputy Mayor of Vienna, and senior government officials to learn about the city's smart city initiatives and experience. During that visit, Mr Yang also signed an MoU with the State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy of Austria, Dr Harald Mahrer, to strengthen bilateral co-operation in technology start-up ecosystem between Hong Kong and Austria.
The HKSAR Government is committed to building Hong Kong into a smart city. We strive to make use of innovation and technology to address urban challenges, enhance city management and improve the quality of living, sustainability, efficiency and safety of our city. As an international business and financial centre, we also aim at enhancing our attractiveness to global business and talent, and inspiring continuous city innovation and sustainable economic development.
What I have said here are not exhaustive, and we are now engaging the public to gather more ideas. Every city has its own problems, and Hong Kong is no exception. Learning from the experience and good practices of other cities could give insights into addressing both the existing and emerging development issues. What we need is an innovative, vigilant, adaptive and forward-looking mindset that permeates all levels of urban governance and the community.
So ladies and gentlemen, the exhibition today brings in an ensemble of distinguished experts to share with us their insights and experience in implementing urban innovation. With the concerted efforts of all, I am confident that we will continue to improve our cities for our future generations to live and prosper. I wish you all a fruitful and rewarding evening, and for our overseas guests, a very enjoyable stay in this smart and exciting city.
Thank you very much!
Ends/Thursday, November 3, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:46
Issued at HKT 19:46