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LETTERS & OPINION: Much to learn from a tall concept.

Byline: KEN COX

Dear Editor, - Your headline caption in Friday's Birmingham Post: "Do we want Brum to look like this?" showed the Hong Kong skyline, although the accompanying article focused more on our city and other comparisons.

Hong Kong and other Asian cities often develop high rise structures due to the shortage of space. The high-rise office towers and shopping complexes are mainly concentrated in the financial district and along the northern coastline. Progressing east and west of this the building heights are lower with relatively low-rise developments on the south side of the island.

There is a predominance of high-rise apartment blocks throughout Hong Kong and the New Territories typically housing 1000 or so people in each block. Much of this development is due the fact that Hong Kong is very mountainous/hilly in the core and therefore the development, of necessity, is concentrated around the lower perimeter.

The skyline of Hong Kong is internationally recognised and the above photo illustrates the attraction of Hong Kong's high rise to tourists and residents alike, although ofcourse enhanced by a harbour setting, illuminations and the various festivals.

Clearly Birmingham would be unable to emulate such development on this scale, or that of other new cityscapes such as Dubai for example, however, there could be much to learn from the concept of such developments.

In particular, what was striking to me in my period of living in Hong Kong was the user-friendliness of the connectivity of the developments.

Shopping malls together with their offices and sometimes apartments towering above them were often connected to the transport systems, namely the underground train system (MTR), bus terminals and car parks in the central malls.

These malls would have pedestrian routes through and are frequently provided with enclosed or covered walkways to get from one to another without getting wet in the rainy season. This is promoted by the Government's approving authority and that a handful of developers carry out the work.

I would welcome more high rise in Birmingham if it is in the right proportion to its surroundings, of outstanding design and if it meets the needs of the city and its people.

But above all considerations should be given to how users of the building and neighbouring buildings arrive, leave and pass through the space of these towers.


By email


The Hong Kong skyline Picture/
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 10, 2006
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