“Social Innovation Regional Forum 2023” funded under the “PolyU Jockey Club Operation SoInno” Project promotes age-inclusive communities in the Greater Bay Area
8 Dec 2023
The Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation (J.C.DISI) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today hosted the “Social Innovation Regional Forum (SIRF) 2023 – Main Forum” (the Forum) under the “PolyU Jockey Club Operation SoInno” Project funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. Experts from various sectors shared their strategic insights into promoting age inclusivity in the community and improving public wellbeing more broadly.
At the Forum, Ms Winnie HO Wing-yin, Secretary for Housing of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr SIMA Xiao, Chairman and Chief Planner of the Urban Planning and Design Institute of Shenzhen Company Limited, and various cross-disciplinary stakeholders delivered speeches on their practical experience of building age-inclusive communities through appropriate housing policies, urban facilities, transportation and community living space, showcasing the outcomes when social and technological innovation converge.
In his welcoming remarks, Prof. Wing-tak WONG, PolyU Deputy President and Provost stated, “J.C.DISI has been committed to promoting age-inclusive communities, and the Forum is one of the testaments to its effort. Shenzhen, with the ‘youngest’ population profile in Mainland China, is endeavouring to create a child-friendly city, while Hong Kong, as an acutely ageing city, is dedicated to creating age-friendly communities. The SIRF 2023 brought together valuable experiences from both regions, focusing on social and technological innovation, to collectively explore how to build age-inclusive communities.”
Ms Winnie Ho’s keynote speech introduced attempts by the Housing Bureau to enhance the sense of wellbeing among public housing residents and shared the age-inclusive strategies adopted in the “Well．Being” project, as well as its impact on the design of current public housing facilities and the future planning of public housing. She said that in the process of formulating Well-being design guide, the Housing Bureau attaches great importance to listening to the residents and stakeholders, encouraging them to express their opinions. Promoting age inclusivity and intergenerationality within the community is one of the key factors that enhance residents’ sense of wellbeing. She added that the District Council listens to people’s views, and public’s participation is very important. In pursuit of building a better community together, she appealed to electors again to participate in the District Council Election by casting their vote on 10 December.
Mr Sima Xiao discussed the child-friendly city infrastructure in Shenzhen in his speech titled “Planning a Child-friendly City: Shenzhen’s Innovation and Practice”. He introduced the background to child-friendly city planning in Shenzhen in terms of objectives, process, policy system and impact. He referred to the transformation of Yitian Community Child-friendly Playground as an example to illustrate Shenzhen’s practical experience in creating child-friendly spaces, highlighting the city’s development model which focuses on specific locations at first, gradually expanding efforts to broader areas and always looking to continuous improvement.
To conclude the Forum, Prof. LING Kar-kan, Director of J.C.DISI, said, “The Northern Metropolis will be the new engine for Hong Kong’s future development and lead to creation of new communities, rapid population growth and emergence of various social needs. Being contiguous with Shenzhen, it will also connect Hong Kong to the entire bay area. To seize the opportunity, we should gather stakeholders from the cities in the Greater Bay Area to propose forward-looking options for the promotion of age inclusive communities.”
The Forum also featured talks by Mr Gene SOO, Head of Ecosystem of Global Innovation Department of MTR Corporation Limited; Ms Winnie NG, Director of Transport International Holdings Limited and Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited; Mr Brandon CHENG Zhi-peng, Director of Landscape Design Institute of Shenzhen Urban Transport Planning Centre; Mr James CHAN Yum-min, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Hong Kong Housing Society; and Dr Ping XU, Founder and Design Director of PH Alpha Design Limited. Topics included enhancing user experience through smart mobility, the social impact of age-inclusive transportation service, fostering intergenerational community cohesion through diverse community programmes, as well as creating inclusive community spaces for citizens of different ages in shopping malls.
Under the theme of “Social and Technology Innovation to Shape Community Integration for All Ages”, the SIRF 2023 brought together cross-disciplinary stakeholders from cities in the Greater Bay Area to explore the intersection of social and technological innovation in order to create inclusive and age-friendly communities. In addition to the Main Forum, four thematic events were held in Hong Kong and Shenzhen from September to December this year: a showcase of the creation of age-inclusive communities through the “participatory design” approach at the China Charity Fair; a tour for NGO representatives and urban planning and design professionals from Hong Kong of child-friendly facilities in Shenzhen; as well as two roundtable discussions.
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Ms Sally Lee
Community Engagement Officer, Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation
- 2766 5470
Ms Hazel Cheng
Assistant Manager, Communications and Public Affairs
- 2766 4570