The Belcher Bay Promenade – A dynamic shared space to be protected and replicated 卑路乍灣海濱 — 值得保留和學習的公共空間


The Belcher Bay Promenade in Kennedy Town fully opened in October of 2020, providing a dynamic and multipurpose harbourfront space for residents and visitors. The space was previously part of the adjacent cargo working area and offers 5900 square meters of public space along 172 meters of waterfront. It is highly accessible thanks to its proximity to public transport as well as its connections to the hinterland. 
Through its ‘incremental approach’, the Harbourfront Commission collaborates with different NGOs and stakeholders in opening up coastal promenades for citizens, spaces for strolling and exercise, as well as for education and entertainment. At Belcher Bay sustainability is promoted with a hydroponic greenhouse and recycled furniture including cargo pellets for community use.
From a recent survey conducted by Designing Hong Kong we learned that the Belcher Bay promenade is a popular space and widely appreciated by the users. This support our long-term campaign to protect waterfront spaces from development. It also demonstrates the success of collaborative management models for public space designs and operation.

From dawn to the evening, the use of the space evolves. The sunset and early evening attracts most users – from skateboarders, sunset viewers, photographers to youngsters enjoying a drink on the water’s edge in front of the railing. Earlier in the afternoon, the space attracts younger children. Families with strollers, children playing and individuals basking with drinks in the sun bought from nearby stores. In the morning, the cool breeze attracts elders and qigong practitioners as well as joggers. This flexible space allows a great variety of different activities creates a unique communal atmosphere.

Survey respondents underlined the multi-purpose function of the open waterfront and how a strong community is fostered by the dynamic of activities evolving throughout the day. The space ‘has something for everyone’: skaters, dog walkers, playing kids, place to sit and eat, enjoying the harbour views, and “somewhere to go that’s not indoors!” as a respondent replied enthusiastically. The sense of community is accentuated by the fact that the local population makes up more than half of the users. The promenade is a cherished public space for the ‘west islanders’ of Hong Kong

When asked for suggestions to improve the waterfront, respondents urged for more seating, more shading as well as more greenery. Our research team also identified the need for more cleansing activities as they spotted significant littering near the water edge.

Unfortunately, this waterfront is under threat of roadworks needed to connect Hong Kong Island with Kai Yi Chau and Lantau. Tunnel construction requires a ‘temporary’ closure of the entire waterfront for at least 6 years. What remains of the waterfront once the tunnel portal is completed, is a narrow footpath with only a few connections with the hinterland.

Proposed Tunnel and Ventilation Building (Source: CEDD)

Many respondents expressed their desire for their public space to stay open, ‘Please don’t close it!’ and ‘leave it as it is’ were some of the pleas. Others suggest a widening of the waterfront and pointed at the lack of public space. A research by Civic Exchange shows that residents have only 2.7 square meters of urban public space per capita in Hong Kong. Singapore, while half the our size, offers 7.4 square meters per capita. This lack of communal spaces makes the protection of existing public spaces pivotal. 

The survey asked what alternative public spaces respondents would use during the closure. 88% of respondents replied that they did not know any suitable alternative. Underlying its uniqueness, they stated that this space is ‘one of the few places that can be easily accessed by the community adjacent to the harbour’.

As we may not be able to stop the construction of the tunnel portal and loss of the waterfront space, the question is what mitigating measures can be implemented. Key is to make the remaining waterfront as accessible as possible with many linkages to the hinterland. The success of this promenade and its flexible and collaborative management model serves as an example for future public space in Hong Kong. The fight for the protection of our cherished public spaces goes on.

卑路乍灣海濱 — 值得保留和學習的公共空間








因此,許多受訪者都希望這個公空空間可以保留。像「請不要拆卸!」或者「保持現狀」等都是我們調查中經常收集到的回應。部份受訪者甚至建議擴建海濱,認為「香港需要更多的公共空間」。據公共政策研究機構Civic Exchange的數據顯示,香港居民平均每人只有2.7平方米的公共空間,而面積僅為香港一半的新加坡則擁有7.4平方米。欠缺公空空間正是我們需要保護僅存公共空間的原因之一。


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