Civic Exchange challenges small-house policy

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Civic Exchange will soon release a poll on small-house policy and the think tank will also push for changing Des Voeux Road Central into a “tram and pedestrian precinct”.


Civic Exchange announced some of their big moves planned for the coming year, including launching the third report on small-house policy in May. “There has been little progress on reviewing the small-house policy in the past few years,” said Ms Yip Yan-yan, CEO of Civic Exchange. “Not many dare to comment on it.” The issue of small-house policy falls under one of the three major focuses the think tank unveiled at their media spring reception: Nature conservation, air quality, and urban environment.


The upcoming report will include a poll Civic Exchange has conducted between last October and January, in addition to a focus group that was done last Saturday. The effort to pull together the poll was an “ordeal”, Ms Yip described, specifically on how the think tank had to track down 600 indigenous villagers. Civic Exchange also contacted another 600 ordinary people and asked their views on whether they thought the small-house policy should be amended.


Ms Yip also shared an anecdote regarding the poll. As it was conducted at the outbreak of the Occupation Movement, many of the students who helped call the respondents had gone to join the Movement, rendering the task to pursue the indigenous villagers even more challenging.


No traffic for the Des Voeux Road Central!


Civic Exchange will continue to push the Government to make Des Voeux Road Central into a “tram and pedestrian precinct”. The think tank teamed up with the Hong Kong Institute of Planners, MVA Hong Kong Limited and City University of Hong Kong to publish a report last April for the proposal which they claim will solve the poor air quality of Central.


The think tank’s Chief Research Officer Simon Ng said that if there was one thing the Occupation Movement has taught us, it showed that people are highly flexible in the face of a change in their commutes. “The Movement was a free trial” of how people reacted to a change in transportation and the result was positive Mr Ng believed.


The Government should not use the people as an excuse to shield their reluctance in undertaking new ideas proposed, he said. “We have to try and take the first step.” But in general, he was satisfied with the performance of the Government this year in moving towards the goals set in the Clean Air Plan.