Introduction: Is our CBD not walkable?

You probably couldn’t argue that Hong Kong’s Central Business District (CBD) is a pleasant place in which to stroll. It might be accessible in the sense that it is connected, but you frequently must journey underground, take steps to pedestrian overpasses, jostle fellow walkers for limited sidewalk room, fight for space with construction debris and other barriers. Or you could simply give up and jaywalk, like the throngs of others who dodge busses, taxis and numerous lanes of other vehicular traffic to get from one side of the road to the other. Hong Kong’s CBD was designed for cars, not for people.

There’s no doubt that you can get from one place to another in Hong Kong’s CBD. However, your experience in doing so will most likely be an unpleasant one. Poor directional signage, a lack of free drinking water, polluted canyons, no access to shade or public seating, no shelter from sudden inclement weather and inhospitable shop frontages collude to make it difficult for a pedestrian in this decaying part of the city.

Although Central is a prime example of how a multi-layered city can function in context, the lack of sense of place and poor legibility reduces the area’s potential for unique identity and functionality. This area is particularly difficult to navigate for the elderly, people with disabilities, people with buggies/ luggage and children.

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