HKU Survey Uncovers Public Expectations on the Development of the West Kowloon Cultural DistrictBack


Date of Release: November 24, 2003


(Hong Kong, November 24, 2004) A recent survey of public opinion by the University of Hong Kong ("HKU") discovered that Hong Kong public are not satisfied with the current state of the city's culture and arts. The West Kowloon Cultural District ("WKCD"), a proposal put forward by the SAR government to transform West Kowloon into a cultural region with diversified cultural venues and facilities, could improve Hong Kong's arts and cultural scene.


"Our findings indicate that Hong Kong public are not happy with the city's cultural and arts development, less than a quarter feels that we are above world average," said Dr Robert Chung, Director of HKU's Public Opinion Programme ("POP"). "The West Kowloon Cultural District is a public project with the magnitude and vision necessary to fill this void, and there is some degree of optimism that it will."


A Sino Land and Wharf-led consortium, comprising Sino Land Company Limited, Wharf Estates Limited and Chinese Estates Holdings Limited, one of three finalists to develop the WKCD, commissioned the independent POP survey. The study, a representative survey of the general public, sought to establish Hong Kong's satisfaction with its cultural development and opinions on the WKCD project. POP maintains absolute autonomy in designing and conducting the study.


"The HKU POP study's findings on the public's opinions on Arts and Cultural facilities and development are very much in line with what we discovered in our extensive talks with local arts groups and the public in general," said Mr. Yu Wai Wai, Executive Director of the Sino Group and Sunny spokesperson. "And our proposal addresses all of the concerns uncovered by the study."


The survey interviewed 1,009 respondents of age 15 or above, by telephone between September 22 to 26. The margin of error at 95% confidence level is +/- 3 percentage points. It is part of a comprehensive study of public and expert opinion on the WKCD project.


Key findings include:


Dissatisfaction with Hong Kong's cultural and arts developments


The HKU study discovered that only 39% of the Hong Kong public is satisfied with Hong Kong's cultural and arts developments. Only 30% of Hong Kong people grade their city above Asian standard, 24% above world standard, but more grade it below average standard.


Behaviour-wise, 70% of the general public have not attended any performances, exhibitions, or other cultural activities at formal cultural venues in the past six months.


Nonetheless, the public clearly believes that culture and the arts are important. About seven out of eight Hong Kong public (86%) say that cultural and arts education in subjects like music, dance and drama is important. Unfortunately, only 34% think Hong Kong is doing a good job in providing this education.


Most respondents believe that the WKCD can improve Hong Kong's cultural and arts atmosphere, with over half (53%) saying that it would do so to a large extent and another quarter (23%) saying it would do so to a middling extent. Similar figures are registered with respect to the project's potential to improve cultural and arts education.


Expectations for the West Kowloon Cultural District


If there were a large-scale public consultation, given their concerns, the people of Hong Kong would expect the WKCD project to be environmentally friendly. However, beyond this desire, the HKU study also revealed the elements that the public felt most necessary to the project. "Theatre" (22%), "concert hall" (14%) and "arts education and development centre" (12%) proved to be the most popular choices. In constructing these and other facilities for the WKCD, practicality (56%) is considered by far the most important factor, over architectural grandeur (15%) and maintenance costs (10%).


Mr Yu added: "Hong Kong is graded by many respondents as lagging behind other cities in arts and cultural offerings. We firmly believe that the facilities in the WKCD need to be standard-setting in order to realize Hong Kong's aspirations of becoming a regional hub for arts and culture. The PARC has been conceptualised with this standard-setting in mind - in its blending of arts, cultural and green elements, and in the inclusion of world-class facilities that will answer the needs of local arts and cultural groups as well as the larger community, now and well beyond the 30-year mark set by the government."


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For further enquiry on research background please contact Una Lau of Sunny Development Ltd at 27348373 or 93893827


For further enquiry on research design and methodology please contact:
Public Opinion Programme, The University of Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2859-2988
E-mail: [email protected]