ACU Summer School 2018: designing and creating sustainable communities

Our first day of the 2018 ACU Summer School opened with a short welcome talk from Professor Wong Suk-ting, the Associate Vice-Chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). She gave a quick overview of the history and culture of Hong Kong. There is no city like it on earth, she says – a real melting pot of east and west, old and new. It is a city that continues to grow and develop, heightening the need for sustainability. It is, therefore, the ideal city in which to learn about designing and creating sustainable communities.

Our first lecture was by Professor Jenny Cameron on the subject of The Commons and what they mean for the creation of sustainable communities. Using the example of the Montreal Protocol on the phase-out of ozone depleting chemicals, she showed how commons can work on a global level to deliver benefits for all citizens. For this week, we are building a commons, shared by delegates and participants and sharing ownership and creating positive effects in future.

After lunch, it was time for some field trips; a visit to the City Gallery of Hong Kong, an interactive gallery about the history and development of the country, followed by a walking tour of some of the historical sites, including Dr Sun Yat Sen Museum and the old central police station and jail. Following a fabulous dinner in Sha Tin, some of our students got to grips with the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy.

Day two: exploring new perspectives

Day two began with a presentation from Professor Mee Kam Ng, Director of the Urban Studies programme at CUHK. She talked about the reality of development in Hong Kong, where 38 million people live in public housing that covers just 16 square kilometres of land and new developments are more likely to be on land reclaimed from the sea than on brown field sites. This was a fascinating contrast to the wholly positive angle presented at the City Gallery.

CUHK Summer School 2018 field trip

Mee Kam and her colleague Hendrik Tieben, Associate Professor at CUHK's School of Architecture, then outlined the project that students would be working on; looking at four sites in Hong Kong and recommending solutions to the issues both cultural and environmental. We then heard from Christopher Law who talked about the Very Hong Kong Project. After this, it was time for two more field trips to Hong Kong Island where we visited the district of Sai Ying Pun to see what is possible, even in a space-poor and commercial city like Hong Kong, when people come together to build a community. We also visited the Blue House Cluster, winner of UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation 2017.

Day two closed with a series of videos from the Magic Carpet Project, presented by Hendrik who also created the project.

You can keep up with this year's Summer School by following the #ACUSummer2018 hashtag or following The ACU on Twitter.

Find out more about the ACU Summer School and this year's programme here.

Last modified on 05/07/2018
Tags: students, sustainable development, climate change, Commonwealth