Emerald Necklace – Central Harbourfront, Hong Kong

The “Emerald Necklace” was UDP International’s award-winning entry for Designing Hong Kong’s Central Waterfront Design Competition in 2007. This provocative design proposal aimed to ‘bring the city to the harbour and the harbour to the city’. Through the development of low-rise, mixed-use urban quarters with spatial and well-defined pedestrian spaces, we paid particular attention to the interface of land and the marine throughout our design. A sustainable transport and pedestrian friendly network provided linkage to the hinterland. Diverse, water-accessible activity nodes along the waterfront promenade created a truly great destination for Hong Kong, catering to locals and tourists alike.

Some of the key urban design and place making principles that underpin our concept included an emphasis on quality of life, cultural continuity, a distinct urban identity, a landscaped cityscape, an animated water edge, improved accessibility and economic viability.

The proposal envisioned an “Emerald Necklace” that stretches from the Central Ferry Piers to the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), linking four distinct clusters along the way: Gateway & Transport Cluster, Heritage & Culture Cluster, Government & Civic Cluster and the Ecological & Events Cluster. These clusters, or “activity nodes”, incorporated features such as: the reinstated Queen’s Pier and restored Star Ferry Clock Tower at the inner harbour, the Statue Square Esplanade, Tamar Civic Plaza, and the landscaped eco-park near the HKCEC. The promenade and the Harbour Boulevard, provided east-west pedestrian linkage from the hinterland to the waterfront.

Year: 2007-2008
Location: Central Harbour, Hong Kong
Site Area: ~70 ha
Third Place Award, Central Waterfront Design Competition
2008 Merit Award, The American Institute of Architects
2008 Most Number of Votes for Web-Polling, The Hong Kong Institute of Planners

* Joint Submission with RTKL International Limited, in association with RDC