Urban utopia

Updated 2018-07-28 11:50:03

Tongva Park in Santa Monica, California was designed by James Corner, who spoke at KODW on June 13.

Hong Kong's Knowledge of Design Week convenes a group of cultural influencers who are paving the way for the cities of tomorrow

The creation of livable cities is increasingly about the holistic design of an innovative urban ecosystem that helps connect, activate and transform the city, its people and the environment for an improved quality of life. Building the cities of tomorrow is a work in progress, engaging with individuals, businesses and governments to co-create and codesign, with the ultimate aims of shaping and investing in a better shared future.

"The way we live, work, and play is very different today than it was just a few decades ago, thanks to a network of connectivity that encompasses most people on the planet," explains Carlo Ratti, a director at the Senseable City Laboratory, a research initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is among a large group of luminaries speaking at this year's Knowledge of Design Week (KODW), which run in mid-June in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

"Today, we are at the beginning of a new technological revolution where the internet is entering the physical space - the traditional domain of architecture and design - and becoming an 'internet of things', or IoT," says Ratti. "As such, it is opening the door to a variety of applications that, in a similar way to what happened with the first wave of the internet, can encompass many domains: from energy to mobility, and from production to citizen participation."

An installation at Hotel Icon by Patrick Blanc, who taught a masterclass on vertical garden design on June 12.

Data is often referred to as the new oil, but does this mean there are vulnerabilities in terms of smart cities and sustainable designs for the future? Anne Kerr, the global head of urbanization for Mott MacDonald in Hong Kong, has specific concerns about data. "Who holds the data when designing a digital twin for a city or components thereof, and then who owns the data once the city infrastructure is built?" she asks. Should smart cities be open-source and available to all - will this drive better city designs for the future? Kerr believes these questions about the digital century will affect the development of sustainable and green city design.

Meanwhile, former lawyer Markus Shaw called for Hong Kong to have its politics aligned with the aspirations of its citizens, especially younger people, for a healthier and more inclusive city.

At KODW, he discussed urban planning, the need to reduce road traffic, and the measures needed to address obesity, mental health, pollution and climate change. And through the partial pedestrianization of Des Voeux Road Central, the Walk DVRC initiative (which Shaw chairs) maintains that a decaying Central can be revived and a sense of neighborhood regenerated - all of which will bring about economic gain, as well as create a place where Hong Kong's vibrant culture and heritage can be showcased.

Finally, David Yeung, an environmental advocate and the founder of Green Monday, a social venture that addresses healthy living and food insecurity, shared his views on the forces that are set to disrupt the industry and the opportunities for a livable future.

See Also

Travel Videos

Photo Gallery

Worship Season in Lhasa

Lhasa, capital city of Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, has entered the worship season. Buddhists from across Tibet come to the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple for worship.

Hello Kitty Theme Park Opens in Zhejiang

The first Hello Kitty theme park outside Japan officially opened on Thursday, the first day of the year in the Anji county, Huzhou city, East China's Zhejiang province.

China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords