SDG11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
HKU contributes to building sustainable cities and communities through teaching and research. Under the Faculty of Architecture, the Department of Urban Planning and Design (DUPAD) was established to provide professional training and research on sustainable urban development as well as “urban planning, urban design, housing management and transport to serve Hong Kong and the wider region”. A Common Core course “Sustainable Urban Development and Hong Kong” examines sustainable living in Hong Kong and how the city’s development is affected by cultural, historical, economic and political factors. The Faculty of Social Sciences established the “Policy for Sustainability Lab” in 2015 to facilitate “collective action that provides solutions to global policy programs of our natural, social and built environment”. Through academic research and stakeholder engagement, it strives to find innovative solutions and drive policy change surrounding the 17 SDGs and achieve well-being in 5Ps – People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.
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of courses and research.
papers (in 2017)
Sustainable cities require preparedness and resiliency for the community to respond to disasters and minimise damages and loss. HKU is a collaborator of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Disaster Preparedness and Response Institute (HKJCDPRI) which sets out to foster Hong Kong as a prepared community through “training and knowledge dissemination at individual, institutional and policy level.” A free public health course titled “Emergency Medicine for Disaster and Humanitarian Crises Responders” provides training to healthcare professionals and volunteer workers interested in humanitarian work, expanding the pool of qualified help at times of disaster. Chemical agents and radiation emergencies have also become serious concerns in disaster management. Hence, e-learning modules on these topics were developed to educate first responders, health professionals and any interested individuals to properly prepare and respond in case of such emergencies.
To ensure rural areas are equipped with tools for climate change adaptation, food and freshwater security, and low carbon living, the Policy for Sustainability Lab launched the Sustainable Lai Chi Wo project. With is geological significance and cultural richness, Lai Chi Wo is part of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark and a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. This incubator project aims to re-connect people with nature and reposition the role of villages in a low carbon society through environmental monitoring, experiential learning and stakeholder engagement. It also provides guidance for policy directions and serves as a model for future rural sustainability projects in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Since the projects establishment in 2013, the village has been revitalised and farmlands have been restored and converted into organic farms. Since 2016, new initiatives have been put in place to further transform the community into an educational and ecotourism destination. Efforts were made to preserve the cultural and historic richness of the area, study its ecological environment for research and education purposes, and make the village more accessible through an added public ferry service. The project has been featured as a nature-based solution on revitalisation initiatives by the Equator Initiative of the United Nations Development Programme and Lai Chi Wo has been ranked among the top attractions in Hong Kong by Lonely Planet.
Home to some of the oldest buildings in Hong Kong, HKU has long recognised its duty to preserve architectural heritage. Many of the buildings on campus, such as the Main Building, Eliot Hall, May Hall and Hung Hing Ying Building, have been declared monuments by the Hong Kong government. Preservation of these heritage buildings requires physical maintenance as well as continued efforts to engage stakeholders on their use to best maintain their historic and cultural significance. To protect intangible cultural heritage, HKU also takes part in the preservation of its nearby Pokfulam Village, a heritage site recognised by the World Monuments Fund. The experiential learning project takes students from different disciplines to work together on a number of initiatives ranging from preserving cultural heritage, investigating the natural landscape, managing relationships between environment and community space, to research on the effects of land use and development planning. HKU also serves the wider community by offering free or affordable access to resources promoting education and culture. The HKU libraries are open for public use with computers and study spaces available. The university also opens its doors to the public through exhibitions at the University Museum and Art Gallery, and performances by the My University Spotlight Encounters series, the HKU Students’ Union Choir, the Drama Society, and the Union Philharmonic Orchestra.