Urbanie & Urbanus

Issue 2021 Dec


The Asian City: Regeneration as Value Added

Dr. Peter Cookson Smith

MHKIUD Hon.AIA HK, Special Consultant


Urban regeneration must be about managing change while responding to contemporary needs. The emphasis should therefore be on explicit principles and typologies based on the underlying significance of form, structure and architectural syntax of individual areas rather than on prescriptive treatment which can lead to pastiche and imitation.

For urban regeneration to be successful in practice, solutions must be sustainable – that is to say the process should take on an enabling role, with an emphasis on safeguarding the interests of future generations, ensuring the equitable distribution of costs and benefits, and emphasising the promotion of economic activities that enhance environmental quality. This accords with the policy priorities defined by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and reflects an inescapable fact – that the future will be predominantly urban.

The problems facing sustainable regeneration are partly those of perception. A carte blanche approach dictated more by financial imperatives than the need to equate a balance between producers and consumers of property, allows for little discrimination in the planning process and even less opportunity for genuine urban betterment. This calls for what we might call a “Value Added” approach.