Community Sees HKU Pokfield Campus Development as Important Gateway for Better Connectivity between Kennedy Town and Western Mid-Levels

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) is currently redeveloping its decades-old sports and residential facilities at Pokfield Road into a new landmark campus hub at Pokfulam Road and Pokfield Road. It comprises a new academic complex for the HKU Business School providing innovative teaching and learning facilities that meet the needs of the 21st Century, a modern sports complex, state-of-the-art academic and conference facilities, and residences for staff and visiting scholars.

Through the Pokfield Campus Development, HKU aspires to create better walking environment and bring mutual benefits for the surrounding neighbourhood, through a new ‘Community Gateway’ that connects the MTR Kennedy Town Station and Pokfulam Road by pedestrian facilities.

HKU’s proposed Community Gateway, comprising escalator and elevator systems, a footbridge and footpaths, will link Smithfield Road to the new Pokfield Campus, Pokfulam Road and the Centennial Campus, allowing commuters to overcome a 80-metre height difference and shorten the journey time.

The Pokfield Campus, situated on a slope at Pokfield Road and Pokfulam Road, is 500 metres away from the Centennial Campus and 550 metres away from the MTR Kennedy Town Station downhill. The height difference between the Pokfulam Road entrance of the new Campus and the MTR station is up to 69 metres.

An online survey and community workshop conducted by HKU in April 2022 found that the majority of the respondents in the community support leveraging HKU Pokfield Campus development as a pedestrian gateway between Kennedy Town and the Pokfulam area.

Close to 95% of the respondents agree that pedestrian connectivity in the district needs improvement, citing steep slopes and narrow footpaths as the top reasons that discourage them from walking in the district. Most respondents indicated that they would be more likely to walk from Kennedy Town to Western Mid-Levels when the new campus is in place.

The results suggest most of the respondents consider the most important benefit brought by the proposed Community Gateway as easier access and better connectivity to the Kennedy Town MTR Station. Respondents rated two pedestrian connection proposals from the community (via Pokfield Path and Sands Street; see photos 1 & 2) regarding their likelihood of walking within the district, with a slight preference for the Pokfield Path option.

“The Pokfield Campus Development presents an opportunity to uplift the community’s environment and well-being. HKU aims to create a new campus that improves the accessibility between the MTR Kennedy Town Station and Pokfulam Road, enabling people living and working nearby to travel uphill and downhill more easily,” said Mr Jeffrey Sy, HKU’s Director of Estates (Designate).

The online survey was conducted between 8 – 24 April 2022 with 178 responses. About 30 stakeholders living, working and studying in the area, together with local representatives and HKU members, participated in an online workshop on 30 April 2022.

The online community workshop was run by an architectural and planning consultancy AD+RG, commissioned by HKU. Attendees including members of the Area Committee and community leaders proposed enhancements for a pedestrian-friendly environment, such as providing elevators and footbridges for people who are physically disabled. Participants recommended the authorities to explore the use of the Pokfield Campus to develop more systems for going uphill to help residents overcome the level difference between Kennedy Town and Pokfulam Road.

“It is important for any infrastructure project to have positive impact on the community. Enhancing pedestrian connectivity will encourage people in the community to walk rather than relying on vehicles, thereby helping to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment,” said Mr Bernard Lim, Principal of Architecture Design and Research Group. His team facilitated the community workshop and study.

HKU will gather the input and key findings from the online community survey and community workshop and take the community’s expectation of enhancing accessibility into consideration in the design of Pokfield Campus. The report will be shared with relevant government departments for consideration in improving pedestrian accessibility and connectivity in the areas concerned.

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