ACU Summer School 2018: Final projects

The recent ACU Summer School 2018, hosted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, asked students to work together to solve sustainability and community issues and to:

  • Identify multifaceted urban development issues for community development
  • Analyse key factors for sustainable community building 
  • Develop skills to plan and design sustainable communities
  • Generalise from the learning experiences and formulate planning and design frameworks to promote sustainable community development
  • Experience Hong Kong

The students were split into eight project groups and briefed to come up with creative solutions to issues facing four of the sites visited on field trips during the summer school; Mapopo Farm, The Blue House cluster, Sai Ying Pun and Tin Shui Wai.

Group 1: Mapopo Farm

The group suggested capitalising on companies’ corporate social responsibility activities as well as the popularity of urban farm movements elsewhere in the world to save the farm and address the issue that Hong Kong relies heavily on imported food – producing only 1.7% of the food they consume.

Group 2: Blue House cluster

Group 2 looked at the possibilities for this busy commercial area which faces considerable urban decay. They highlighted the opportunity to include local businesses in increasing community engagement in the area.

Group 3: Blue House cluster

This group sought to enhance and expand upon the educational potential of the Blue House cluster to engage with young and old citizens.

ACU Summer School 2018 - group work winners

Group 4 - winners of the group work project challenge at the ACU Summer School 2018

OVERALL WINNERS Group 4: Tin Shui Wai

Group 4 carried out interviews with local residents and visually observed how spaces are used. Their proposal included enhancing social and physical connectivity for resident to increase happiness and help the city to lose its 'city of misery' epithet. They also looked at how it would be possible to create better cohesion with political support.

Group 5: Sai Ying Pun

The group observed how gentrification of local areas was having a damaging effect on cultural heritage and how locals could fight back through community groups and civil society.


The group focused on empowerment and sustainability through the creation of intergenerational activities to make the area more welcoming and inclusive for people of all ages.


Group 7 discussed how Hong Kong’s reliance on imports could be reduced through the ability to produce more food locally. They suggested a flexible approach with initiatives such as a slow food kitchen.

Group 8: Sai Ying Pun

This group examined the mental aspect of a lack of community and its impact on human lives, then suggested a number of solutions specific to this area.

ACU Summer School 2018 - group work

Workshop leader and judge Howard Tam from Think Fresh Group said: ‘It was amazing how the students embraced the knowledge and just ran with it. They immediately applied the mindsets, methods and tools to their projects and were able to learn as they went - which is great especially since design is something you need to learn via practice.

‘I think the knowledge also helped to empower the students as they researched their projects because they were learning valuable human insights as they went, which immediately helped them validate their hypotheses. The best part by far was hearing the feedback after the summer school - many students reported how much they learned and how they could see themselves applying these lessons back home. I even got an email recently from one of the students sending his appreciation and thanks for the workshops!’

We will shortly be making an announcement about the summer school locations and topics for 2019, 2020 and 2021, so watch this space for more!

Last modified on 14/08/2018
Tags: students, Community engagement, climate change, sustainability, university