The Government published the new Urban Renewal Strategy (“URS”) in February 2011, following an extensive public consultation exercise that had lasted for more than two years. The new URS calls for active promotion of the adoption of a “People First, District-based, Public Participatory” approach at the urban renewal planning stage, and embraces the new proposal of setting up a District Urban Renewal Forum (“DURF”) in old urban districts to strengthen urban renewal planning at the district level.
In coming up with holistic and integrated urban renewal initiatives, DURF will discharge the following functions:
To ensure that urban renewal is undertaken in a more systematic way with regard to local characteristics and aspirations and community interests at large, each DURF will be chaired by a professional familiar with urban renewal issues and its members will be drawn from a wide cross-section in the local community including District Council/Area Committee Members, representatives from established non-governmental organizations/groups/ business associations in the district, and representatives of relevant government bureaux/departments and the Urban Renewal Authority (“URA”), etc. The Planning Department will provide secretariat and professional support to DURF.
In June 2011, the Government has established the first pilot DURF in Kowloon City, which has a large number of dilapidated buildings but involves only a few URA redevelopment projects. The Kowloon City DURF will provide pioneering experiences that would help enhance the Government’s urban renewal initiatives and planning, and review the effectiveness of such initiatives in future.