Modern technology, while offering unprecedented daily convenience, has inadvertently reduced our physical activity. Apart from public promotions, the Hong Kong SAR Government’s Planning Department would like to invite planners, architects and designers to play an important role in encouraging healthier lifestyles by implementing the ‘active design’ concepts in urban development.

Responding to the challenges of designing high-density urban environments and a complex topography, Arup leveraged its global expertise to formulate the Active Design Guidelines with themes, objectives and design guidelines at both the neighbourhood and building scales.

This is the first-of-its-kind strategy and design guidelines for Hong Kong’s urban transformation. It incorporates comprehensive research, identifies the barriers and opportunities for various user groups and aims to shape an urban environment that makes it easier for all Hong Kong residents, regardless of age or fitness level, to choose more active daily lives.

Cover of Active Design Guidelines
Arup formulated the Active Design Guidelines to facilitate practitioners in embracing active design concepts in planning urban landscapes and the built environment.

Active design in a high-density city

At the neighbourhood scale, the Guidelines emphasise the creation of an active city by providing diverse, flexible and accessible active destinations, complemented by interesting and convenient pedestrian routings, encouraging people from all societal groups to engage in more physical activities in their daily life.

At the building scale, where multiple uses coexist, the Guidelines focus on strategically positioning building functions, creating active spaces and facilities and designing active routes within and around the building to encourage user movement. Active building frontages support a vibrant and safe pedestrian realm, enhancing the walking experience.

Contributing to a healthy urban environment

As a start, we’ve made the Active Design Guidelines publicly available to raise awareness among practitioners. We are also promoting the application of the Guidelines in multiple public development projects to capture public attention on the associated benefits of active design. Our ultimate goal is to institutionalise the Guidelines into the planning and development regime, scaling up efforts to create a healthier urban environment.