Project runway Kai Tak was once ranked the sixth most dangerous airport in the world. It’s since transformed into a high-tech cruise terminal, with housing and a stadium to come (right)舊貌變新顏啟德機場曾被列為全球最危險機場第六位,現在改建為高科技郵輪碼頭,未來還會興建屋苑及體育館(右圖)

Discovery - - HONG KONG AIRPORTS 香港機場 -

THE HISTORY OF Kai Tak goes back to 1912, when businessmen Ho Kai and Au Tak raised money to reclaim a swathe of land from Victoria Harbour. Their plan to develop the land failed and they were bought out by the British colonial government, which began using it as an airfield. It was gradually expanded and improved over the years until it began offering regular scheduled flights to cities around the world.

By the boom years of the 1980s, Kai Tak was taking on more flights than it could handle, and high-rise apartments and tenements had spread to within spitting distance of the runway. Anyone flying into the airport experienced the hair-raising approach that took them alarmingly close to rooftop antennae and drying laundry.

‘I remember landing at Kai Tak and seeing into a flat – a girl was brushing her hair by the window. It was that close,’ says former Hong Kong resident Fiona Hawthorne.

The new Sir Norman Foster-designed airport at Chek Lap Kok opened in 1998. It was the centre of an enormous infrastructure programme that included bridges, expressways, the Airport Express railway and vast land reclamation.

Moving the airport freed up 328 hectares of land at Kai Tak. In May, a plot of land at the former airport site became the city’s most valuable when developer Sun Hung Kai Properties paid a record HK$25.16 billion for it, to redevelop into flats. The former Kai Tak site will likely be the last large parcel of land to be developed in the heart of Hong Kong. After years of planning, the area’s master plan was finally put into place in 2007. It called for a large park, a sports complex, a cruise terminal, a hospital, hotels, housing, offices and retail, all of it built along a planned monorail line that will connect to the new Kai Tak MTR station, slated to open in 2020, and the former industrial neighbourhoods of Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong, which have been rebranded as CBD2, a new business district.

‘ There’s a lot of good stuff happening at Kai Tak,’ says Paul Zimmerman, co-founder of urban design watchdog Designing Hong Kong. Meant to be greener and more spacious than other parts of urban Hong Kong, Kai Tak will be centred along a park that runs next to the Kai Tak River, a former drainage channel that was initially meant to be capped and turned into a sewer.

After years of industrial pollution, the river gave off a powerful stench (perhaps what Lincoln Bartlett was actually smelling in Noble House) and it was all but devoid of life. But with new sewerage works and the city’s deindustrialisation in the 1990s, the water once again ran clear. Fish returned and so did birds. Community activists successfully lobbied to save the river, and the government is now adding greenery and a public promenade to its banks.

Architect Wallace Chang, who grew up next to the river and who helped lead the movement to save it, sees its integration into Kai Tak’s redevelopment as a way to build ‘a connection between the old and new neighbourhoods’.

When Kai Tak is fully developed in the mid-2020s, there will be enough housing for 90,000 people, whose flats will be cooled by an eco-friendly, district-wide seawater cooling system. More than 13 kilometres of cycle tracks will thread through the area. There will also be ample space to walk along the waterfront, including a promenade that has already been built along the former runway, which is now home to the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal – designed by Foster + Partners, just like Hong Kong International Airport.

Zimmerman’s chief concern is that

Kai Tak will be burdened by too much big infrastructure. The cruise terminal’s already been criticised as a white elephant, since companies still prefer to dock at the more centrally located Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui. Zimmerman also points to the Central Kowloon Route, a new expressway to Kai Tak, which will take over a large chunk of land for an interchange, potentially making the area a lot less pleasant and sustainable than its planners intended.

啟德機場的歷史可追至溯 1912年,當時有兩位商人何啟和區集成德 資 立公司,於維多利亞港上大規模填,海 打算發展住屋計劃。不過這個計劃後來告吹,填海所得的土地被英國殖民地政府收購用, 作機場這。個機場其後規模日漸擴充,設施亦逐步改善後,更來 開始提供定期航班,飛往世界各地多個市城 。

到了1980年代香, 港經濟起飛德,啟機場的航班升降量大增,開始出現應接不暇的情況;加上機附場 近不斷湧現的住宅大廈擠和 逼的民居,與機場跑道的距離十分近接 。客機降落機場時,與佈滿電天視線和晾曬衣物的天台幾乎擦身而過,場面驚心動魄。

Fiona Hawthorne以曾香居前在港 住地, 點就在機場道近跑 附 。她憶述:「記得有次乘搭客機降落啟德時,望我 進某個住宅單位,看見一個女孩正在窗邊梳飛頭,機與民居的距是離就 這樣近。」

位於赤鱲角的新機場由諾曼福斯特爵士設計,於1998年落成屬, 於一項龐大基建計劃的核心項;目 這個基建計劃需大量填海造地,外加興建橋樑、高速公路和機場快綫鐵路等多項配套工程。

機場搬遷後,啟德空出328公頃土地。今年5月,新鴻基地產以251.6億港元的空前高價,投得前機場一幅地皮,發展住宅項,目 令該址成為全最值城 價不菲的土地。啟德機場舊址很可能是香港市中心區後最 一塊可供發展的大型土地。經過多年規劃和檢,討 該的區發展計劃大綱終於20 07年面世;大綱內建議興建大公型 園、綜合體育場館郵、輪碼頭、、、、醫院酒店房屋辦公和室 商場,全部均著建沿 擬 的單軌鐵路而興建而,條這 單軌鐵將接路 連 預期於2020年啟用的全新啟德港鐵站,以及前為身工業區、現已被重塑成新一代商業中心區「CBD2」的九龍灣和觀塘。

城市規劃監察組織「創建香港」聯合創辦馬人司 文表示:啟「 德正迎來許多美好事物。」這個地將著方 沿 啟德河畔的公園,發將展 會比香港區市 其他地方更綠意盎環然境, 更寬敞。啟德河的前為身 排水明渠,本來打算改建成加蓋的下水道。

當年,條這河流長年累月受到工業污染,散發強烈的臭氣(小說日Nobl e House升中的Lincoln Bartlett也許就是嗅到這種氣味) ,是名副其實的一潭死但水。隨著香於港 1990年代展開新的渠務工程,加上工業北移,河水終於回復清,澈類魚和雀鳥亦重返該處棲息。社區團體成功爭取保留河流,而政府現正於河流兩旁種植草木,並在河畔增建一道公共長廊。

建築師鄭炳鴻小時住在啟德河附方,現在則參與保育這條。小河 他認為將河道納入啟德發展計劃,是「連繫新舊社區」的方式。

當啟德於2020年代中期全面發後展 ,區內將有可容納90,000人的屋苑,每個住宅單位將由全區通用的環保海水冷卻系統提供空調,並有一條長逾13公里的單車徑穿越整區。區內亦將提供寬敞的海濱漫步,空間 沿括 前機場道跑 建成的海濱長廊。啟現時 德郵輪碼頭亦位於前機場道跑上香,與 港國際機場樣同 為福斯特建築事務所負責設計。

司馬文最關心的,啟是 德將承受過多的大型基建。郵輪碼頭已被批評為大白象,因為郵輪公司仍然喜歡停在接泊 更方市中心的尖沙咀海運碼頭馬。司 文亦指出,啟通往 德的全新高速公路中九龍幹線,匯其交 處將佔用一大片土地,可能令區內環境較想像中惡劣,對可持續發展造成影響有, 違規劃者的原意。

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