Arguments over Urban Renewal and Heritage Preservation

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There are often arguments over urban renewal and heritage preservation. Suggest at least two ways in which a compromise can be reached with appropriate evidence to support your view.

The main characteristic of Hong Kong’s culture lies in the successful blend of East and West. Our heritage items are a testimony to our unique past and are irreplaceable.

Heritage preservation provides a legacy for future generations, shows how those before lived, and enables us to retain knowledge and memories of previous ages. Our heritage helps define our cultural identity. Heritage items add variety to our cityscape, and make our city more attractive place to live in. They are also a valuable economic asset that is an essential element of Hong Kong’s development of cultural tourism.

However, Hong Kong’s high population density prompts the exploration of more land and development of more high-rise buildings. There is a strong socioeconomic demand for rapid and intense urban development. It is inevitable that urban renewal and preservation sometimes may clash in such a small area like Hong Kong. The key lies in striking the right balance.

As public awareness on preservation is on the rise, the government should move with the times and be proactive in order to reach a social consensus. Only then can development and preservation exist side by side in Hong Kong. Lacking a conservation policy in past, our valuable historic buildings, like the Star Ferry Pier, have fallen prey to development one after another.

The reopening of consultation should only be the government’s first step in seeking social consensus and assuaging conflicts. In order to do a better work on antiquity conservation, the government should consider devise a comprehensive assessment mechanism and protection measures. The government should set up trust funds to revitalize built heritage and introduce economic incentives to encourage private property owners to protect built heritage.
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