Wanchai’s emergence and growth harks back to the 1900s, when it was known for its Edwardian terraced buildings, a catholic mission, numerous small workshops, and the Island’s first electrical plant. At the request of the Old Wanchai Revitalisation Initiatives Special Committee, Swire Properties submitted a proposal to the Government for a Public-Private Partnership for the Revitalisation of Old Wanchai in general, and streetscape improvement works in and around St Francis Street, Sun Street and Moon Street in particular. The proposal is founded on the belief that Hong Kong's cultural fabric is one of its greatest assets, and that it is possible to develop a sustainable urban future through the development of this unique resource.
As such, the revitalization process aimed to enhance the shared streetscape and adjacent open spaces whilst conserving the historic nature of the area and rebuilding a sense of identity. This was achieved by promoting local features and integrating the established historical and cultural heritage with a modern, sustainable environment that is attractive to residents, visitors and businesses alike. As a community based scheme, the intention was to build on the existing low-rise urban environment of Old Wanchai, seeking to add value to an urban living room of cul-de-sacs, mature trees and sitting out areas. Enhancements made to the shared streetscape and adjacent open spaces through improvements to the street furniture, paving, lighting, railings and signage helped create these uniquely local spaces, which provide an oasis for rest and contemplation at the heart of a bustling city.
As a ‘Public Private Partnership’ (PPP) initiative, a comprehensive public consultation exercise was undertaken during the concept development stage, which included a pop-up exhibition on Sun Street, where visitors were invited to post their views in order to help shape the project’s design development. This community input as part of the process was successful in establishing the shared values that exist between residential, commercial and environmental interests and the potential for organic growth of the existing urban fabric of Hong Kong.