Where do you work?
I am currently working as a Senior Planning Consultant in Arcadis UK, covering projects like master planning of Birmingham, school developments, infrastructure consenting, socio-economic cases and various planning applications.
Route into planning
Tell us about your route into planning
My journey as an urban planner began when I entered the Master of Urban Planning (MUP) Programme at the University of Hong Kong. Upon graduation, I gained valuable exposure from various positions in both development planning and transport fields, from both public and private perspectives. I was also actively involved in voluntary community planning projects ranging from bottom-up planning initiatives to public education programmes. I am glad that my contribution to the planning profession and wider community of Hong Kong was recognized through the Hong Kong Institute of Planners Young Planners Awards in 2020.
Helping the public
How does your role involve helping the public?
Since I was a planning student, I have devoted much of my after-hours on voluntary community work, both planning and non-planning related. To me, the beauty of working with local communities is to solve problems and to envisage a brighter future is my source of motivation to devote myself into community planning in Hong Kong.
Through numerous collaborations with local communities, I tried to demonstrate how public opinion could be systematically incorporated into spatial planning proposals for implementation. More local groups, including District Councillors and residents’ organisations etc, began to see the value of community planning and have reached out for professional support on communal affairs. The presence of urban planners in local communities has improved significantly in Hong Kong in the past decade, thanks to the dedication of a generation of passionate planners.
Highlights of some of my community involvements in recent years include:
- An award-winning proposal for the formulation of a bottom-up plan for the famous Sham Shui Po fabric market.
- A pilot scheme for a daytime market in Sham Shui Po, the first grassroots market formed under a bottom-up community planning process in Hong Kong.
- A design buffet using real size furniture to visualize the spatial arrangement of proposed transitional housing units in Hong Kong.
Tell us about any work you’ve done to help your local community
The relocation from Hong Kong to the UK last year means a completely new start on my social network in the local community. Thanks to the kind support of our friends and neighbours, I have started volunteering in diverse community activities with local churches and NGOs, especially for my fellow new arrivals from Hong Kong. We have organised adaptation classes for Hong Kongers, local cultural markets to promote inclusivity, and reach out events to help homeless people.
In addition to community building events, I participated in the preparation of a research project on civic engagement and social integration of Hong Kongers in the UK. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to reflect on the social process of integration, especially when I am personally experiencing it.
Your spare time
What do you do when you are not planning?
Like most people from Hong Kong, I love traveling. I enjoy the great cities of the world – the culture of London, the resilience of Tokyo and the beauty of Barcelona. There is so much wisdom and inspiration from how cities around the world thrive over time, how they resolve problems of their own with local wisdom. The energy of urban life never ceases to amaze me.