10 November 2015
Hong Kong has too many roads, US architecture critic says

By Alex Ji and Lorie Ann Cascaro

Hong Kong breaks urban planning rules, a Pulitzer Prize winning architecture critic said last week in Hong Kong.

The city places too much emphasis on roads, she said, which is similar to Philadelphia, where Inga Saffron writes a column about architecture, design and planning issues for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

After visiting the Occupy Central protest sites she said, “If a city is able to function with closed roads, then the city has too many roads.”

Demolishing roads is a trend in the United States and some parts of Europe, she said, adding that cities are making use of road spaces for  parks and bicycle paths.

“We give too much to the cars. We should give more to the people,” Saffron said

Saffron said the architectural designs of buildings in Central, including sky bridges and interior malls, are “all things that are no-no’s in urban planning.”

“And yet, even all those rules are broken, because it is such a dynamic city, it doesn’t really matter. It’s kind of wonderful anyway,” she added.

She also said Hong Kong should build more small parks in neighborhoods to create more public space, as there is not enough housing in Hong Kong and people need a way to escape small living spaces.

Changing public opinion towards urban planning is a slow process, she said. But after 15 years of writing about it in Philadelphia, opinions are finally changing.

“The public has the right to be involved in discerning how their city should be designed,” she said.