Development of Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail
Recommendation for Development of Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail
The District Urban Renewal Forum (DURF) is one of the major highlights of the new “Urban Renewal Strategy” promulgated by the Government in 2011. As the first DURF in Hong Kong, the Kowloon City DURF was established in June 2011 with the mission of formulating the Urban Renewal Plan (URP) for Kowloon City based on a series of planning and other studies and public engagement, which were funded by the Urban Renewal Fund (the “URF”).
The DURF formulated and submitted the URP to the Government in January 2014 for consideration and follow-up. The development of the Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail is one of the recommendations of the URP.
In line with its commitment to support heritage preservation and district revitalisation initiatives in the urban renewal context, the Board of Directors of the URF took the initiative to provide funding to the project on the Development of the Themed Walking Trail and to invite proposals from interested organizations to carry out the project.
Invitation for Expression of Interest
In April 2016, the URF conducted an Invitation for Expression of Interest to ascertain the nature and extent of interests as well as the underlying concepts of the organizations that may be interested in the project on the development of the Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail. The purpose was to collect views and ideas from relevant organizations on a non-committal basis.
Invitation for Proposal
In December 2016, the URF invited proposals from interested organizations to implement the development of the Trail.
Appointment of HKSKH Welfare Council Limited to Implement the Development of the Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail
After detailed consideration and selection, in September 2017, the URF appointed the HKSKH Welfare Council Limited (the “Welfare Council”) to implement the project of the Development of the Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail. The project was to commence in January 2018.
Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail Kick Off Ceremony
The Welfare Council and the URF jointly organized the “Kowloon City in Transformation: Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail Kick Off Ceremony” at the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Holy Trinity Cathedral in the afternoon on 27 November 2017. The project objective, characteristics and details of the routes were presented. The officiating guests included Mr Michael Wong Wai-lun, Secretary for Development, Mr Pun Kwok-wah, Chairman of Kowloon City District Council, Ms Venus So Yi-ching, Assistant District Officer of Kowloon City District Office, and the representatives of the URF and the Welfare Council. A great number of guests from the district attended the ceremony.
Introduction of the Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail
Kowloon City is a diverse community full of different histories, cultures, attractions and specialty shops. It looks like a kaleidoscope that reflects different splendid and attractive patterns even in the same place. The Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail will be the longest themed walking trail (6.5 km) in Hong Kong currently, which is divided into 5 routes with different characteristics. The objective of this Walking Trail is to promote heritage preservation as well as arts and cultural development in the district by connecting residents and stakeholders. Moreover, it is hoped that the project would keep the local neighbourhood and community relationship even in face of great changes in the future arising from redevelopment and railway construction in the district.
The Welfare Council will be operating the Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2023, in a total of 6 years. It will start to install Route 3 “Community Art Walk” first and complete it within the first two years. The remaining routes will be completed within 4 years.
Introduction to the Routes
- Route 1 “Walled City Historical Walk”: From Junction Road or Carpenter Road to Hau Wong Road, via special attractions such as Kowloon Walled City Park, Kung Wo Dou Bun Chong and Nga Tsin Long Road, to show the rich and varied Walled City history.
- Route 2 “Local Culture Walk”: From Hau Wong Road to Sung Wong Toi Road, via special attractions such as Holy Trinity Cathedral, old Kai Tak Airport and Sung Wong Toi Park, to show Hong Kong aviation history, Holy Trinity Cathedral history, and the history of Southern Song Dynasty Emperor Zhao Zheng and Emperor Zhao Bing fled to the Kowloon City.
- Route 3 “Community Art Walk”: From Pak Tai Street to San Ma Tau Street, via special attractions such as Cattle Depot Artists Village and old buildings along “13 Street”, to show the arts and culture in the Kowloon City district.
- Route 4 “Waterfront Leisure Walk”: From San Ma Tau Street to Chi Kiang Street, via special attractions such as Hoi Sham Park, Ho Sham Pavilion and “Fish Tail Stone”, and use To Kwa Wan waterfront as the main theme to show the past waterfront scenery.
- Route 5 “Temple and Church Walk”: From Sung On Street to Dyer Avenue, via special attractions such as Pak Tai Temple, Holy Carpenter Church and Kwun Yam Temple, to show various religious and social welfare buildings and take people to walk around.
- Technology Application: To use technology such as augmented reality (AR) and mobile APPs throughout the project to enhance interactivity and fun.
- “Jumping Hub” and Public Furniture: “Jumping Hub” is a three-dimensional movable activity kiosk that can be installed with other public furniture at different locations along the Walking Trail. Together with different quarterly activities, citizens will be attracted to participate in and revitalize the space in the district. The device materials can be reused and are environmentally friendly.
- “KC Transformer”: The project will recruit and train residents and community members to become “KC Transformers” who are the volunteers of the project. Through a series of training and practical activities, participants will understand the culture and history of the Kowloon City district as well as participate in the planning and promotion work of various activities.
- Cross-professional Team Cooperation: Experts and scholars from different disciplines including arts, architecture, urban planning, culture and history as well as preservation has been invited to provide professional advice on the project in order to generate synergies, activate cultural development, establish comprehensive community networks, co-create and inherit various types of public facilities, interactive spaces and cultural activities with local culture, arts, preservation, historical and religious features for the residents.
The Development of the Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail
The Development of the Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail has commenced since 1st January 2018 and will end on 31st December 2023 with an operational period of six years. The objective is to encourage the preservation of the historical value, promote arts and culture and preserve the connections with the local neighbourhoods while facing the redevelopment and railway infrastructure in the district.
The length of the walking trail is about 6.5 kilometers, and the hardware beautification works of five routes have been completed in December 2022. Five AR games have been added to Route 1 and Route 2. The public can learn about the history of Kowloon City in an interactive and interesting way just by scanning the AR signs on the street through the Walking Trail mobile app.
Route 1 “Walled City Historical Walk” & Route 2 “Local Culture Walk”
Route 3 “Community Art Walk”
Route 4 “Waterfront Leisure Walk” & Route 5 “Temple and Church Walk”
Kiosk “Transformation Hub”
The project team is working with the contractor on the production of street kiosks, which includes the elderly-friendly transformation hub (2.0) and the periscope distorting mirror activity kiosk.
The project team collected the opinions of elderly people who tried the first-generation of the elderly-friendly transformation hub (1.0); which is a sitting posture test activity kiosk. The feasibility study of adding technological elements and collecting image data to the hub (2.0) is now in process.
The design concept of the periscope distorting mirror activity kiosk came from the “Hoi Sum community designer” workshop co-organized with the Department of Architecture of the University of Hong Kong in 2019. It took a closer look at the people and scenery in the community using light and shadow and different angles.
The Information Centre of the Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail was official opened in March 2019. The project team continued to implement a series of themed workshops to promote the project to stakeholders through software activities directly; and actively used the Information Centre as a community contact point, cooperating with different organisations to organise diverse activities to serve the community. The Mobile Information Centre was set up in October 2019 to actively reach out more stakeholders of Kowloon City district and other districts.
In the second half of 2019, the project team continued to cooperate with schools in the Kowloon City District, and also actively in developing and providing community guided tours and activities to promote the project to schools and local groups outside the district. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Information Centre was temporarily closed from January 27 to February 29, 2020 and was opened for a limited of time in March. The Information Centre and the Mobile Information Centre were opened from April 2019 to March 2020. The total number of visitors were 10,575.
The project team maintains communication with regional stakeholders including the Kowloon City District Council and relevant government departments. The project team is applying to the Urban Renewal Fund for the approval of opening a second Information Centre, and it will continue to follow up with the Development Bureau to rent a unit in the Cattle Depot Art Village in June 2019. The second Information Centre is expected to be opened in the fourth quarter of 2020 to reach a wider range of stakeholders and tourists; to promote the regional publicity of the walking trail.
Programmes and Events
The project team has so far successfully recruited 83 residents, 85 regional groups and cross-sectoral stakeholders to form a partnership of the “KC Transformer”. The newly joined groups in 2019 included the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, Hong Kong Design Center, Cattle Depot Artist Village 1, Penjing Association of Hong Kong, etc.
From April 2019 to March 2020, the project team organised more than 94 diversified activities for stakeholders to participate in, including guided tours, design workshops, street stations, photography tours, exhibitions and trainings. To enhance and promote the uniqueness of Kowloon City District and pass it on to the younger generation in the district. The events successfully reached over 14,406 participants. More than 86% participants were satisfied with staff performance and activity content.
The project team organised two signature events in the second half of 2019. The “Cattle Depot Artist Village Opening Ceremony: Cattle Depot Experience Journey” was held on 8 September, hardware designs and street kiosks “Transformation Hub” were introduced to the then Secretary of Home Affairs Mr. Lau Kong-wah, JP and the public participants.
The “Walking with Art: Walking Trail Milestone Exhibition 2019” was held in the Cattle Deport Artist Village from 12 to 24 November, showing the hardware design of Route 3 and a series of guided tours and workshops, including bonsai making, frosted glass and pyrography. The workshops allow participants to experience and enjoy the literature and art of To Kwa Wan promoting the development of community artists and the walking trail.
The project team collected public opinions on hardware through this Exhibition. There was also a self-service experience area for the public to create a mini street model by themselves, this engaged the public in some imagination and creation of street planning. The public responded enthusiastically to the event. These two signature events had participants over 239 and 1,420 people respectively.
In order to promote participatory design and integrate software activities and hardware facilities, the Walking Trail organized a field study activity from June to July 2022. Participants produced the voices stories through data collection, field visits, sharing and interviews in Kowloon Walled City. The public can now scan the AR signs on the trail along the perimeter of the Kowloon Walled City Park through the mobile app and listen to 10 stories about the Walled City.
As the epidemic gradually recedes, the walking trail arranged more than 20 physical guided tours in the first quarter of 2023, attracting the public, primary and secondary school students to join. The Walking Trail also tried to launch novel and interesting guided tours, such as bird watching tours, literature tours, and Dragon City running, etc., so that the public can get to know the community from different perspectives, and the activities have received positive responses.
Kowloon City District Council
The project team visited the councillors of Kowloon City District Council in the first quarter of 2020, and reported the software activities and hardware engineering progress of the project. The district councillors were informed on the latest developments of the project and cooperation opportunities were discussed. Suggestions from members on project development would help the work of the project to respond to the needs of the community.
The project team scheduled to report to the Kowloon City District Council Culture, Recreation and District Facilities Management Committee, together with the Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Renewal Fund, Mr. Wong Kam-man, Joseph on 14 May 2020, on the hardware project progress of the project’s Route 3 and invited members to vote and comment on the preliminary hardware design of Route 4 and Route 5.
A Steering Committee was assembled, comprising of Kowloon City District councillors, and experts from the academic, historical and architectural sectors. The third meeting was held on 4 November 2019, members gave advice on the Route 3 hardware works and commented on the hardware designs of Route 4 & Route 5.
Social Media Platform
From April 2019 to March 2020, the “Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail” Facebook page has reached 436,962 people online, and the cumulative number of “Likes” reached 3,243. The post with the highest number of reaches was the “Vote for Street Facilities in Route 4”, with approximately 117,300 reaches. In line with the promotion strategy of mobile apps, web pages and Facebook pages, the Instagram account “Kowloon City Themed Walking Trail” was set up with a series of images, hoping to attract new interest. From April 2019 to March 2020, a total of 105 posts were posted on Instagram, with a cumulative number of 386 followers. The social media platforms are rich in content and have the latest event information, which is convenient for stakeholders to register the event online.
Quarterly Newsletter “Footprint”
Six issues of the quarterly newsletter “Footprint” have been published, from the beginning of the project to March 2020. The sixth issue of Footprint was published in January 2020 with the title of “Community Imagination”. The print volume is 8,000 copies and is available to be obtained at some locations for free, the number of locations having been increased to 27, including some of the Kowloon City District Councillors’ offices, public libraries and shops in the district. The Footprint has also been invited by the Kowloon Public Library and To Kwa Wan Public Library to be included in their collections, and its publication content is highly recognised.
Community Picture Book
The project team planned to publish a series of community picture books. The first picture book “Visiting Factories with Grandpa” was published in November 2019. Readers can learn more about the industrial history of To Kwa Wan in the picture books.
In 2022, 4 community picture books have been released. The team invited students from primary and kindergarten schools in Kowloon City to participate in the related activities with community picture books. The school registration response was overwhelming. In the first quarter of 2023, a total of 25 Festival picture book into the school activity.
Website and Mobile Applications
The official website of the walking trail not only publishes the latest project development news, event promotion and media reports, but also contains thematic stories about conservation, urban planning, shops, architecture, culture and history along the trail.
The web language selection function was launched in August 2019. Users can select traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese or English at the top of the web page. The cumulative number of visitors from April 2019 to March 2020 were 46,628.
The mobile app was officially launched on 22 July 2019. Based on the premise of interaction, interactive maps and AR games were set up. Users only need to open the interactive map, and the system will provide different guided tours based on the user’s current location, such as Kowloon City Historical guided tours, To Kwa Wan architectural conservation group, etc. In addition to the three existing AR games-320-degree AR storybook, Dragon City Explorer and 13 Streets Camera, the project team plans to launch two new AR games in the second half of 2020; one of the new AR games would be built to match the 13 Streets’ “Today in the past” hardware signage, the other AR would be based on the community picture book “Visiting Factories with Grandpa” as the creative idea to enhance the reading experience of the picture book. In the first half of 2020, the number of downloads of the mobile apps was 262, and the cumulative number of downloads reached 602. The project team plans to promote and increase the number of downloads of the application in the second half of the year.
Media interviews and reports
The project team received a total of 8 media reports from April 2019 to March 2020, including “Oriental Daily”, “HK01”, “Metro Radio”, “Radio Television Hong Kong “, ” Radio Television Hong Kong English Channel- Radio Three” etc. Radio Television Hong Kong’s program “Daily Design 2” had also interviewed the walking trail on 23 June and 14 July 2019 to report on the playing space and the design process of the activity kiosk for the elderly. Radio Television Hong Kong has also scheduled an introduction of the short video of the project on the program “Everyday at 8:30” on 26 March 2020. The content of the short video would introduce the concept of inclusiveness of the young and the elderly under the coronavirus epidemic.