Use of the mobile application in front of the renovated waterfront

The Southern District of Hong Kong is changing fast, resulting in disconnected neighbourhoods, an underutilised waterfront and a negative impression of the area. This project aims to create a distinct identity for the district by connecting the area with new waterfront spaces and autonomous boat trips. The goal is to enhance connectivity, promote liveability and ensure sustainability for residents, workers and visitors in the neighbourhoods.

The project makes use of an abandoned and unattractive canal in Wong Chuk Hang to transport people to the key nodes of the Southern District by Roboats, autonomous electric boats designed by Senseable City Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that serves as a water taxi to enhance connectivity within the district, making it a tourist destination.

The docks are designed as a modular system to cater for changing demands in the future as well as solar-powered charging stations for Roboats to encourage sustainability. The docks and water routes will be integrated with the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) network to facilitate transport. New features will also be added to the MTR mobile application (app) for users to plan end-to-end trips with various types of transport and to reserve a boat.

To create new waterfront spaces for living, work and play, the canal area at the Wong Chuk Hang MTR station will be redesigned with greenery; pedestrian and bike paths; street furniture; and a connecting route to the Aberdeen waterfront. The waterfront will be transformed into a public open space with landscaping, retail spaces and other programming where people can rest or enjoy a light snack. This will help enhance tourism and create new economic opportunities for the neighbourhoods. Moreover, a new hiking destination and multi-use space will be built at the top of Ap Lei Chau to attract residents and visitors throughout the year.

A new app will be developed to include location-based augmented reality (AR) games with educational values to allow local residents and visitors to learn about the rich cultural heritage, history and natural elements of the Southern District, as well as to increase their interactions with the neighbourhoods. Community feedback on current and future city projects, such as street design and transportation, can also be collected through the app.

The district is ageing like the rest of Hong Kong. Therefore, the services provided and the new game-like app will be easy to use for everyone to enable a long-term development of the project.— Construction+ Online


Project Title
Southern District, Hong Kong
Site Area
600 hectares
Zehua Bian; Elaine Wang; Jehanze Shoaib; Jin Yue; Mathéo Dupré; Yiyun Xiao
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); The University of Hong Kong; The Chinese University of Hong Kong; The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
MIT Independent Activities Period (IAP) 2022 Beyond Smart Cities
Professor Kent Larson (MIT Media Lab City Science Group); Dr. Michael Lin (MIT Media Lab City Science Group); Assistant Professor Sunnie S.Y. LAU (MIT HK INNOVATION NODE)

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