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Students Create Their Dreams of a Better Tsim Sha Tsui

Aiming at unleashing the creativity of the younger generation, the third edition of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS) signature “Create Your District Competition” featured nearly 200 students from 24 secondary schools this year. Participants presented smart ideas aimed at injecting a new spirit into the areas where they lived. The contest encourages students to take more interest in their surrounding districts by designing an ideal community while exploring the rich history, cultural traditions and city development. Meanwhile, they can also develop a better understanding of surveyor’s role and contributions in revitalization, conservation and redevelopment in Hong Kong. 

This year Tsim Sha Tsui was chosen as the location, and students brainstormed ideas and modelled their ideal version of Tsim Sha Tsui with 3D models and multimedia tools. The competition showed the young participants the key role that surveyors play in the revitalisation, conservation, and redevelopment of urban areas. 

Since the middle of the year, participants had been busy experiencing a series of workshops and guided tours of the area which introduced them to the wide-ranging responsibilities of a surveyor.

Armed with this knowledge, students made their presentations in mid-September. The results of the competition were announced at an awards presentation ceremony on November 2. All the winning entries were put on display at an exhibition at a shopping mall in Tsim Sha Tsui between November 3 and November 17, allowing the public to experience the entrants’ imaginative ideas for themselves.

At the awards ceremony, all the attention was on the massive display of winning 3D models and videos. Guests, HKIS board members, and winning students and their teachers assembled to hear HKIS president Sr Dr Tony Leung who praised the creative presentations in a speech and indicated the difficulty to choose a winner. According to Sr Dr Leung, this competition has allowed the Institute to leave a footprint in different districts for the last three years. It has provided a successful platform for the younger generation to learn about surveyor’s role in the development of the city, while also expressing their own views. He was deeply moved by students’ creative ideas and the depth of their imagination. Apart from thanking the Organising Committee (OC), he also extended his heartfelt gratitude to the sponsors, participating schools, teachers for their support. Given numerous infrastructure projects drive the demand for surveyors, he strongly believed in a rosy and promising future of the construction and real estate industry in Hong Kong, and this enables good career paths for the next generation and beyond.

Sr K.K. Chiu, a former judge of the competition, acted as the chairman of the OC. Chiu hoped to see how students comprehend historical, cultural and economic characteristics of Tsim Sha Tsui from surveyors’ perspectives, through incorporating the spirit of community and sustainable urban development. He applauded the way the contest gave exposure to students and new technology alike. In addition to guided tours and video workshop, the OC has also added a new element — a half-day digital story map training workshop to the competition, bringing a more fruitful and enriching experience to the participants. Though there was only a short time for learning, Chiu observed that students managed to apply what they have learnt to their projects to make sure they have impact.

He also cited that students always exceed their expectations every year. This year, some teams took their ideas to the next level by using Augmented Reality (AR) to show what historic architecture looked like in the olden days. One winner presented a demo which showed the remaining pieces of street art by late graffiti artist Tsang Tsou-choi, the “King of Kowloon”, on a smartphone. Visitors gained a deeper understanding of the relics through this. In the meantime, he sincerely thanked the support from sponsors in these weak economic times.

Good Hope School bagged the championships in both the 3-D Model and Multimedia categories. Referencing the High Line Park in New York, the 3-D model crafted by the winning team linked together iconic landmarks with a sightseeing train. The train leaves from a museum-themed station at Salisbury Road, and passes by the Sheraton Hotel before finishing at an 1881 heritage site near Kowloon Park. It connects different spaces to present the district in different periods to the public, ever since it has been opened up for the trade.

Interactive installations like food trucks, museum exhibits, and projections of artworks, line the route. Their idea is to use interactive experiences to showcase the colourful history and heritage of the district. From there, it would attract more tourists and therefore generate economic benefits. The successful F.3 students declared that an interest in urban development was the reason they joined the competition. The district has undergone immense change and development since the 1950s, and its history and culture were left behind when it transformed into a commercial and tourist area. Therefore, the students were inspired to take their particular approach

Team member Katherine Ng excitedly shared the challenges encountered when building the 3-D model for their ideal Tsim Sha Tsui. They came across many limitations and problems, for instance, they needed to find out how and where it was feasible to build the bridge. This was solved by conducting comprehensive research and studying the past experiences and best practices of others. Then, four of them proposed many different ideas and sometimes resulted in heated arguments as well. So they tried to listen to each other and reach a consensus because it’s all about communication.

The winner of the Multimedia category was a three-minute video created by Kong Hau-yiu, who proposed through the intersection of interactive devices and concrete objects, it allows the public to experience Tsim Sha Tsui in different eras. A walking route from Kowloon Park which passed along Salisbury Road, Nathan Road, and Haiphong Road, to finish at St. Andrew’s Church. Kong spiced up the walking experience with various interactive elements. QR codes were embedded on iconic historical structures and passers-by could scan them to see their original look by means of AR.

The rationale behind choosing this category is because of her hands-on skill at shooting and editing video. Compared to 3-D modelling, Kong found it an efficient way to use images and pictures to give a better understanding of the concept. Her ideal experience is a walk through this enhanced cultural and heritage experience. By comparing the present day with pictures of the past, locals and visitors can develop a deeper understanding of the background. 

According to Kong, the tactic was not to stress big facilities or installations but concentrated on Tsim Sha Tsui’s history and development. A simple walking experience is all that’s needed to awaken the public’s collective memories and sentimental feeling. She also proposes a museum at the waterfront, which will be an iconic history of Tsim Sha Tsui’s development. Though only a one-member team, this F.3 student highly appreciated support from HKIS, especially for their workshop and guided tours that helped to familiarise with the area, and inspire her thinking.