Urban renewal Wanchai eng by Y7xT503





Urban Development and Decay in Wan Chai-------------------------P.2-9

Urban Renewal in Wan Chai--------------------------------------------P.10-14

David, I live in Wan Chai and want to know
more about the history of urban development
here. I know you have read a book called
‘Wan Chai District—Its Relics and Legends’
recently. Can you tell me some interesting
things about Wan Chai?                                         Andy

                  Yes. According to some historical records like Xinan
                  Gazetteer, settlements could be found in Wan Chai as
                  early as the Qing dynasty. After 1840, it was one of the
                  earliest areas for urban development in Hong Kong. Do
                  you know the original name of Wan Chai after the
 David            arrival of British?

                 I don’t know. Can you give me some

                At that time, urban development was concentrated at
                the north coast of Hong Kong Island, i.e. from the
                current Causeway Bay to Western District. This
                broad area was then divided into several parts, such
                as Sheung Wan and Chung Wan at that time.

Then, I guess the original name of Wan
Chai was ‘Ha Wan’.

             That’s right! ‘Wan Chai’ means ‘little bay’.
             Actually, the name reflects the physical appearance
             of its coastline in the past. At that time, Wan Chai
             was only referred to the bay north of the present
             Queen’s Road East—the original coastline.

             Photograph 1 An old temple along Queen’s Road East
             indicating the location of the original coastline

That’s interesting! Can you tell me
more about the early development of
Wan Chai?

                 Before 1860, many wealthy Europeans lived
                 in Spring Gardens (near the present Spring
                 Garden Lane). Sir George Bonham had once
                 rented a house in Spring Gardens as his
                 Government House between 1848 and 1854.
                 However, after 1860, Wan Chai became an
                 area mainly inhabited by Chinese.

                 Photograph 2 Spring Garden Lane

                 In the 1920s, Wan Chai was developed as a
                 naval shipyard and many ships could be
                 found there.

Therefore, there is a street called
‘Ship Street’ in Wan Chai now.

                Yes. With increasing population density and land
                use demand, extensive reclamation was carried out
                at Wan Chai and it is still a hot issue now. Between
                1841 and 1945, reclamation was carried out between
                Queen’s Road East and Gloucester Road. After
                1945, the land between Gloucester Road and the
                present seafront was also obtained by reclamation.
                Therefore, Johnston Road, Hennessy Road, and
                even the famous Hong Kong Convention and
                Exhibition Centre were all built on reclaimed land.

                Nowadays, commercial and residential land uses are
                the two main types of urban land use in Wan Chai.
                Lots of new commercial buildings can be found

Since Wan Chai has a long history of
development, we can find both new and
old buildings in Wan Chai now. John,
I’ve some photographs about Wan Chai.
Look! The buildings in different
photographs show the development of
Wan Chai in different periods of time.
Urban decay can be found in many parts
of Wan Chai, especially along Queen’s
Road East and Johnston Road.
Extensive urban renewal should be
carried out in Wan Chai as early as

Photograph 3   An old building along Stone Nullah Lane

Photograph 4   Wan Chai Market (It was built in 1937)

Photograph 5   Old Wan Chai Post Office (It was built between 1912-1913)

Photograph 6   An old residential building at the junction of Queen’s Road East and Lee
Tung Street

Photograph 7   Hung Shing Temple along Queen’s Road East (It was built before 1847)

Photograph 8   Old buildings along Johnston Road

Photograph 9   New office buildings along Gloucester Road

Photograph 10 A mixture of new office buildings and old residential buildings at Wan Chai

Photograph 11 Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre at Wan Chai

                        Yes, the photographs are interesting. Actually, the
                        pace of urban renewal should be quickened here.
                        Further information about urban renewal in Wan
                        Chai can be found on P.10-14 of this Information
                        Folder. You may also read an interesting book—
                        Ng M. K. and Cook, A. (2001). Building Sustainable
                        Communities: The Wanchai Experiment. Hong
                        Kong: The Centre of Urban Planning and
                        Environmental Management, The University of
                        Hong Kong.

                        Concerning the possible future development of Wan
                        Chai, you may browse the website of Town Planning
                        Board (http://www.info.gov.hk/tpb/). Look at the
                        part—‘Wan Chai North Outline Zoning Plan’ on
                        the website and know more about the issue of
                        reclamation at Wan Chai.


1. Town Planning Board, 29 January 2004.

2. Wan Chai District Board (1992). Wan Chai District—Its Relics and Legends.
   Hong Kong: Wan Chai District Board.

3.            。

                  New Concept of Urban Renewal in Hong Kong

In the past, urban renewal in Hong Kong was mainly focused on ‘redevelopment’.
Old buildings were pulled down and replaced by new ones. However, the Urban
Renewal Authority of Hong Kong (established in 2001) now employs a new concept
of urban renewal. In the 21st century, urban renewal no longer means pulling down the
old buildings alone. Instead, ‘preservation’, ‘rehabilitation’ and ‘revitalisation’ are
also included and promoted in renewing the old urban areas of Hong Kong.

This new concept of urban renewal has long been employed by many cities in the
world, such as London and Paris. Many old buildings in these cities are rehabilitated
and preserved, and they become important tourist attractions now. At times of
financial deficit, this new concept also helps to quicken the pace of urban renewal in
Hong Kong.
Newspaper clipping 1

         A case about a revitalization project at Sheung Wan—Sheung
         Wan Fong can be found in the following website:


                            Urban Renewal in Wan Chai

Wan Chai is one of the nine sizeable target areas of urban renewal identified by the
Urban Renewal Authority of Hong Kong. The renewal project at Johnston Road of
Wan Chai—Johnston Road Project has been started. According to the Urban Renewal
Authority, the site area of the Project is about 2,000 m². About 20 buildings are
included in the site area and more than 150 households are affected. After renewal, the
site will be used for commercial and residential purposes. The site plan and artist’s
impression of the site after renewal can be browsed on the website of the Urban
Renewal Authority (http://www.ura.org.hk/html/c512000e6b.html).

Newspaper clipping 2

                             New Idea of Urban Renewal
In 2001, representatives of the Urban Renewal Authority said that they would include
some new ideas in the renewal of some old urban areas in Hong Kong. One of these
was that they wanted to preserve some representative old shops in the old urban
districts capable of demonstrating the specific characteristics of the street or the area.
Lee Tung Street at Wan Chai was considered as one of the streets for implementing
this new idea because the street is famous for its printing industry over a long period
of time.
Newspaper clipping 3

                      Cutting Trees at Urban Renewal Sites
Urban renewal often brings other problems and the cutting of valuable trees during
renewal seems to be one of these problems. Now, developers have to get permission
from the Town Planning Board first before cutting trees at urban renewal sites. As
such, the renewal progress may be hindered in some cases. The Mega Tower Hotel
Project of Hopewell Holdings Limited at Kennedy Road, Ship Street and Hau Fung
Lane of Wan Chai is an example of this. In order to minimize the environmental
impact, Hopewell Holdings Limited is now seeking professional advice on the total
number of trees that should be cut at the renewal site.
Newspaper clipping 4

Photograph 12 An urban renewal site at Wan Chai Road and Tai Yuen Street of Wan Chai

Photograph 13 Urban renewal will be carried out at Lee Tung Steet, better known as the
‘Wedding Card Street’

Photograph 14 Printing companies at Lee Tung Street of Wan Chai

Photograph 15 An urban renewal site along Johnston Road of Wan Chai

Photograph 16 An urban renewal site along Ship Street of Wan Chai


1. Urban Renewal Authority, 29 January 2004.

2. 「市區重建要攀越兩座大山」《大公報》,二零零二年十月九日。

3. 「市區重建缺資金保存修復成出路」《明報》,二零零二年一月十三日。

4. 「市區重建擬保留利東街特色」《東方日報》,二零零一年十月十日。

5. 「市區重建不應只拆樓建樓」《明報》,二零零二年十一月七日。

6. 「市區重建重視樹木保育」《明報》,二零零三年八月一日。

7. 「美化城市 保存古蹟 帶動經濟 劉華森:市區重建如金礦」《蘋果日報》,

                            ,   ,二零零二
8. 「保留社區特色 恢復舊區朝氣 曾俊華倡綜合式重建」《大公報》

9. 「市區重建新機遇」《蘋果日報》,二零零三年七月九日。

                     ,      ,二零零四年二月五
10. 「合和灣仔項目「廿年戰爭」露曙光」《香港經濟日報》

11. 「利東街將清拆 市建局願重現喜帖街」《明報》,二零零四年二月十日。


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