88% of Hong Kong wants green harbour front

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    Harbour Business Forum Releases Findings of Hong Kong’s Most Comprehensive Survey of Public Opinion on Victoria Harbour

    The results of a comprehensive public opinion survey undertaken by AC Nielsen, on the perceptions of, and aspirations for Victoria were announced today. The survey, undertaken on behalf of the Harbour Business Forum between mid-December 2005 and the end-January 2006 canvassed (by telephone) the views of 1,039 Hong Kong residents, aged 15 and above – making the survey the most comprehensive and statistically-significant consultation ever.

    The loud and clear message from the survey is the public’s concern for enhancing the waterfront and cleaning up pollution, with 88% of interviewees wanting to see more greening around the harbour. Anti-reclamation opinions were also prevalent, as were views in favour of reduced development on the waterfront – not just infrastructural and commercial, but also residential development. These types of development are to be replaced by promenades and improved ground level access to the harbour, allowing people to run, cycle, perform tai chi and enjoy cultural and entertainment activities.

    “This survey provides impressive depth into the feelings of Hong Kongers towards our harbour and is a sign of our increasingly confident and articulate society. Harbour Business Forum welcomes the findings of this survey and we hope that this will encourage open and informed debate on harbour issues,” said Mr. Andrew Long, Chairman of the Patrons Committee, Harbour Business Forum and Chief Operating Officer of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. “It serves as a benchmark and we have no doubt that this will be of great value to the all in the community and will affect any future public undertakings and decisions made related to Victoria Harbour.”

    What the harbour means to Hong Kong people:
    Hong Kong people were found to interact with the harbour frequently including:
    “taking ferries to cross the harbour” (91%),
    “viewing the harbour at night” (89%) and
    “strolling along the harbour-front” (86%).

    Apart from being the companion of Hong Kong people, the Harbour also plays a significant role in the eyes of the public, as the vast majority of them agree that the Harbour is “something shared by all Hong Kong people” (90%), is “valuable to them” (85%) and “symbolizes the prosperity and success of Hong Kong” (83%). The harbour is associated with the brand image and identity of Hong Kong, core heritage of Hong Kong, a sanctuary place and a victim of never-ending construction and reclamation.

    When asked about their ideal vision for the Harbour, the public expressed that the Harbour should be more people-oriented and integrated with daily lives, with more greenery (88%) for leisure activities along the harbour-front. Their biggest concerns are pollution (73%) and the amount of reclamation and construction (64%).

    What Hong Kong people say about their harbour:
    The public feels strongly about the harbour. In particular, the older generation (aged 55 and above) has the highest emotional attachment to the harbour (80%), agreeing that the “harbour brings back a lot of good memories”. While the distinctive skyline is still strongly associated with the harbour, the public tends to see reclamation and pollution as threats, which jeopardize the future of the Harbour.

    “More open space would make me happier. I can’t wait to do yoga on the grass with a natural breeze” – younger white collar

    Almost all the respondents (97%) are aware of at least one of the harbour-related development projects. Three in ten indicate they are very likely to become involved in harbour-related projects in the future and those aged 25-34 indicate their likeliness in voicing out their opinions.

    Hong Kong people’s vision for the harbour:
    There is significant demand for more promenades / walkways along the harbourfront (77%) and pedestrian access to the harbour at ground level (73%). A common ideal from the respondents is focused on a clean and healthy harbour. Reducing water and air pollution, reducing littering and cutting down the level of reclamation are the key areas suggested for improvement. Commercial and residential buildings are less favoured to be included in future development of the harbour.

    more info: Harbour Business Forum

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