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Programme 2014-2015

The MSc in Urban Design Programme prepares students to make their contributions in developing sustainable communities and address pressing urban challenges of the 21st century. In recent years, policy makers, planners and designers investigated the potentials of mixed-use and high-density districts to respond to the challenges of climate change and decreasing resources. However, in many places, local communities react with concerns on the prospect of living closer together. Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region are perfect laboratories to explore the challenges and opportunities brought about by high-density urbanism.

In the two studios and the summer thesis for 2015 we will address these issues by looking at two different scales and conditions: The first studio will focus on Kowloon East to develop approaches for the regeneration of an old industrial district and engage with its existing community. The second studio will develop urban rules and designs for two currently planned new town extensions in Shatin (Hong Kong) and Taipa (Macau). This comparative studio will allow learning from the similarities and differences in both cities. The studios of both sites will offer the opportunity to radically rethink the design of urban districts together with their urban infrastructure and the design of artificial land reclamations. Other key elements of the programme are our international study trips and workshops providing the opportunity to study the impact of urban design projects in “real-life” and experience different urban contexts and conditions. In the coming academic year 2014-15, we plan again study trips to Taipei and Barcelona, as well as the participation in a winter school in Singapore. These activities are organized in close collaboration with our partner schools of the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU.org).

Pre-term Workshop:


August 25-29, 2014.

This one-week workshop is run as an introduction in producing and experimenting with urban information and visualizations, offering a short look into current representations, working methods and the visual culture in contemporary urbanism. This year the workshop focused on the suburban new town of Tin Shui Wai in the northwestern corner of the New Territories. Starting with sketches and field observations of the public spaces on site, the workshop continued to conceptualize, design and produce urban themed board games, displayed later in an exhibition alongside the Magic Carpet cinema screening and community event at the Tin Sau Bazaar in September 2014. The results were documented and gathered into a digital booklet.

Instructors: Mika Savela, Mo Kar Him

Term 1:

East Kowloon


The attraction of the Hong Kong model is based on its highly compact urban areas, its urban mobility and the conservation of large land resources as country parks. A central question which policy makers, planners and designers face is how to make the compact urban areas livable and sustainable. The first studio of the M.Sc. in Urban Design program is focusing on the urban regeneration of Kwun Tong in Kowloon East. The study area is comprising an old industrial area and the adjacent site of the former Kai Tak Airport. In the 2011-12 Policy Address, the Chief Executive Donald Tsang announced the adoption of a visionary, coordinated and integrated approach to expedite the transformation of Kowloon East into an attractive, alternative Central Business District to support Hong Kong’s economic development. This was followed by the setting up the local Energizing Kowloon East office and first project under transformation, but also by protest of the people already working in the district. At the beginning of the studio, students will study the urban morphology, cultural heritage, transportation infrastructure of the area as well as the use of public spaces and local community concerns. Therefore, the studio is organized together with the Course URBD5731 Urban Processes, which offers students the opportunity to engage with various stakeholders in the district. Thus, students of this studio should also register for this course. Based on these different investigations and discussions, the team will develop a community benefit plan for Kowloon East as well as individual urban design interventions.

Instructors: Sujata Govada, Francesco Rossini

(Read the course description here as PDF)

Term 2:

MaLiuShui Taipa


In the second term two parallel studios focus on the development of urban rules and designs for new towns: One investigate a site in Shatin (Hong Kong) and the other in Taipa (Macau). The studios aim to develop strategies and design proposals in creating sustainable mixed-use districts, capable of integrating the new developments into the existing context. Following the topic of the upcoming World Expo 2015 “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” in Milan (Italy), we will extend the original ideas of Shatin New Town, and ask how a sustainable district could be planned in the 21st century. Important in this context will be the radical reconsideration of urban infrastructure in the city, alternative solutions for land reclamations and design approaches for healthy living. The best projects are planned to be presented at the World Expo 2015. The courses will offer a field of experimentation bringing together various interdisciplinary perspectives at CUHK. In addition, students can participate in the IFoU Winter School at the National University of Singapore, which will focus similarly on new town design. This will give us the opportunity to compare different approaches in the region.

Instructors: Francesco Rossini, Nuno Soares

(Read the course description for the Hong Kong studio here as PDF)

(Read the course description for the Macau studio here as PDF)


Mr. Polar Lee
Project Coordinator
Tel. +852 3943 1309
Fax. +852 3942 0982