Kowloon East:
Inclusive Innovation & Growth
九龍東 共融創新與成長項目
'Smart City' To Me Is Where A
City Is Highly Inclusive, Adaptive,
Flexible, Resilient And With Equal Opportunity
- A Better City.
Sunnie S.Y. Lau
Director of Smart City Research and Industry Collaboration,
MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Research
Prototypes
Video
Resources
Research Findings & Sharing
28th April 2020 10:00am - 11:00am (GMT + 8)
Summarized by MIT Node’s Smart City Subject Matter expert Dr. Eddie Hui

Under its current rapid development, Hong Kong faces increasing economic challenges and new opportunities to transform. As the traditional Central Business District (CBD) saturates, the Hong Kong Government identified the need to develop another kind of CBD- Kowloon East is currently in the spotlight for a new wave of development.

Kowloon East (Kwun Town District). Hong Kong’s poorest and most densely populated district, is currently undergoing a transition to become the second CBD. There are a set of socio-economic challenges faced by the underprivileged individuals during this urban regeneration process. How can we better drive collaboration among public, private and non-profit organizations to support equitable workforce and small business development efforts while promoting innovative solutions?

J.P. Morgan has commissioned MIT HK Innovation Node, MIT to conduct research seeking to understand the gaps and identify opportunities in Kowloon East that foster inclusive economic growth. It serves as a response to tackle the growing socio-economic disparity of the district’s development into a CBD. The ultimate vision is to promote an inclusive, smart, innovative and human-oriented CBD2 in Kowloon East.

This one-hour webinar discussion will focus on sharing some key takeaways from this yearlong field research led by Sunnie S.Y. Lau. Director from the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node. Two keynote speakers from Cambridge. Massachusetts Institute of Technology” MIT professors. Charles G. Sodini. and Brent D. Ryan – are going to join us with respective insights on how to meet these challenges.

The invisible boundary dividing Hong Kong’s CBD2 and the 750.000 residents living in Kwun Tong is too glaring even to be naked eye. On a typical weekday morning, a 1-million-strong workforce commutes into Kowloon East and a sizeable portion of local residents makes their way out of the district, without interacting with each other whatsoever. As a result, Kwun Tong, despite of her surging skyline, still remains as the poorest district in the territory.

Supported and commissioned by JP Morgan, MIT HK Innovation Node (“Node”) undertook the challenge to looking into tearing down these barriers in Kowloon East. Prof Sunnie Lau, Director of Smart City Research and Industry Collaboration of the Node, led the charge and shared her key takeaways to a very engaging web audience on 28 April 2020.

Prof Lau suggested that NGOs, public and private sectors can work together to leverage the women and youths of Kowloon East to bridge the socio-economic gap. Creation of innovative environment for co-working & networking, upskilling and job counselling, will be conducive for stay-home mothers and youths to participate. With this new found flexibility for the underprivileged and unemployed, thriving economies of start-ups like co-ops and SMEs will emerge as they start to uncover their Hong Kong entrepreneurial spirit.

“Smart Cities is about people, not technology.”, Charleston Sin, the Executive Director of the Node, reminded the audience about how the Node addressed this inclusivity challenge. This was echoed by Prof Charles Sodini, the Faculty Director of the Node, and Prof Brent Ryan, Head of City Design and Development Group in MIT.

In a bumper 3-day of heavyweight smart cities reports releases, this Kowloon East one was preceded by Blueprint 2.0 co-authored by HK Smart City Consortium (“SCC”) and will be followed by KPMG’s annual smart cities report on the next day. Mr Daniel Chun, Chairman of Research and Blueprint Commission of SCC, was on-site to introduce the very comprehensive report they submitted to ITB and OGCIO. Mr Chun presented a “Double-Smart” approach to counter the “double-ageing” phenomenon in HK’s buildings and population. On a similar note, Mr Anson Bailey, Head of Technology, Media & Telecoms in KPMG, shared passionately about their endeavour to converse environment, connect GBA and ASEAN, as well as enable collaboration between startups and enterprises.

Speakers

Charles G. Sodini. Faculty Director. MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node. Lebel Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT

Brent D. Ryan. Associate Professor of Urban Design and Planning; Head. City Design and Development Group, MIT

Sunnie S.Y. Lau. Director of Smart City Research and Industry Collaboration, MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node. MIT

Moderator

Charleston Sin. Executive Director – MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, MIT

Team Members
Project Leader
Sunnie S.Y. Lau, Director of Smart City Research and Industry Collaboration, MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, MIT.
MIT Faculty Advisors
Charles G. Sodini. Faculty Director. MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node. Lebel Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT.
Brent D. Ryan. Associate Professor of Urban Design and Planning; Head. City Design and Development Group, MIT.
Research & Editorial Team
Dining Liu, Chiyu Wu , Safina K.Y. So , Ellena O.L. Wong, Theodora Karamanlis
Prototypes
Project Page
Prototypes
The Hong Kong Collateral Event at the 17th Venice Biennale
International Architecture Exhibition Possible Otherness For A Future Sustainable CBD
  • ROOM SCALE
    What are major challenges for migrant stay-home women,disadvantages youths, SMEs in Kowloon East, the future CBD in HK? What are new opportunities and how to create space at room scale to boost local development?
    Read More
  • BUILDING SCALE
    Industrial buildings play a dominant role in the existing urban texture in Kowloon East. How can we transform these mono-functional buildings to meet various needs of the rapidly growing workers in the future CBD for sustainable development?
    Read More
  • DISTRICT SCALE
    Kowloon East, HK's poorest and most densely populated district, is currently undergoing a transition to become the second CBD.What are the opportunities that can potentially foster inclusive economic growth and promote an inclusive, smart, innovative CBD?
    Read More
Video
Project Page
Room Scale 01
Work From Home
Technology Enables Flexibility In Mode For Low-income Families
  • *Axonometric View of HK Public Housing Typology Harmony I Block
    NOW
    Undereducated youth and women suffer from poor employment opportunities and low-income jobs due to insufficient diversified options for work. Time inflexibility for work is the main challenge that youth and families with dependent members face.
  • WHAT IF
    Popular online businesses such as O2O sales can be run by stay-at-home mothers who face the burden of caring for many dependents. The creation and accommodations of new jobs would allow for more career and professional advancement opportunities that would contribute to the alleviation of poverty-stricken homes.
Room Scale 02
Co-working Space
For Small And Medium-sized Enterprises
  • *Axonometric View of Typical Office Plan in Kowloon East
    NOW
    Start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) greatly demand production and frontline staff in addition to administrative, managerial and professional skills. However, market demand and rising rent are major challenges in addition to the limited labor force.
  • WHAT IF
    Co-working spaces provide a good alternative for SMEs and start-ups to have an affordable office rent, shared amenities and resources, network among local communities; and could foster an innovation ecosystem.
Prototypes
Building Scale 01
New Working Community
From Industrial Building To Multi-functional Office Building - Working Space
  • *Axonometric View of Typical Industrial Building in Kowloon East
    NOW
    Given the high rents, tight space availability, lack of business diversity and aging building blocks in the traditional CBD, Kowloon East is anticipated to attract many enterprises of various sizes.
  • WHAT IF
    We suggest in order to build a diversified community with good motivations- an integrated businness platform incorporating event spaces, co-working spaces, serviced offices, pop-up stores and F&B floors all under one roof should be promoted. Marketplace, performance space, smaller office spaces for start-ups can also be included.
Building Scale 02
New Working Community
From Industrial Building To Multi-functional Office Building - Retail
  • *Axonometric View of Typical Industrial Building in Kowloon East
    NOW
    Business area requires both office towers and a variety of commercial programmes to thrive. These often include hotels, high-end restaurants, retail and banking, all of which create the capacity for commercial enterprise to expand. However all these upscale developments are only targeting a small group of well paid white collars.
  • WHAT IF
    We suggest a spectrum of supporting retail business which provides affordable choices for the workforce in Kowloon East. Transforming industrial buildings into multi-purposed buildings can be a way to create a vibrant community in the new CBD.
Building Scale 03
New Working Community
From Industrial Building To Multi-functional Office Building - Event Space
  • *Axonometric View of HK Public Housing Typology Harmony I Block
    NOW
    The coming new offices and buildings of Kwun Tong provide a massive congestion for current employees that affects their well-being. The lack of comfortable, innovative, and aesthetically pleasing landscapes makes it difficult for the average worker to devote their full time and effort to their daily duties. As such, the population experiences an imbalance between their personal and professional lives.
  • WHAT IF
    The urban planning of the future CBD should be able to produce a more people-centric environment that would assist everyday employees and local residents to balance their time devoted to different spheres of their lives, such as more family support, child-care, education and community activities. The physical and economical accessibility within the district has to be improved between the residential and commercial areas to allow a well balanced lifestyle.
Prototypes
District Scale
A Holistic Planning
Work Life Balanced CBD
  • *Axonometric View of Typical Office Plan in Kowloon East
    NOW
    Kowloon East (Kwun Town District), Hong Kong’s poorest and most densely populated district, is currently undergoing a transition to become the second CBD. There are a set of socio-economic challenges faced by the underprivileged individuals during this urban regeneration process.
  • WHAT IF
    What are the opportunities within Kwun Tong that can potentially foster inclusive economic growth and promote an inclusive, smart, innovative CBD in Kowloon East? Our following AR models try to showcase scenarios that would help support an equitable workforce and small business developments in Hong Kong’s Kwun Tong/ Kowloon East area. Project Page
Prototypes
Highlight Video
Project Page
Resources
  • Webcast
    Webcast
    Kowloon East Presentation
    Download
  • Webcast
    MIT HK Innovation Node Kowloon East
    Inclusive Innovation & Growth
    Executive Summary
    Download
  • Webcast
    Kowloon East Project
    Report (Hardcopy)
    Request
Project Page