The Design Dimension of Urban Planning

The Design Dimension of Urban Planning
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Room 829, 8/F, Knowles Building, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road Hong Kong
Department of Urban Planning and Design

‘The Design Dimension of Planning’ was first published in 1996. Written by John Punter and Matthew Carmona, this book made an important contribution to how the design of the built environment was managed through the planning system in the UK at a critical time. With the public, consumers, developers and their clients and policy makers beginning to pay attention to design quality, and the increasing importance attached to district-wide development plan policies, local planning authorities and community groups were given an important opportunity to improve their control over the built environment. This book, based on extensive research, explained how clear, comprehensive and effective design policies could be researched, written and implemented.

John Punter’s work was critical in enabling the UK planning system to take design seriously again. The UK experience will be of interest for all those seeking to establish the Design Dimension of Planning in Hong Kong today.


Presentations 17:30-18:00

  • A Planning Officer perspective
  • An Urban Designer practitioner perspective
  • A Community perspective

Panel discussion 18:00-18:30

  • John Punter
  • Chris Law 
  • KK Ling

Open Questions: 18:30-19:00




Steven Siu is a town planner working at the Strategic Planning Section of the Planning Department, HKSAR Government.  He is a chartered town planner with ten years of experience. Steven holds a Bachelor’s degree in City and Regional Planning (First Class Honours), and a Master’s degree in Urban Design (Distinction), both from Cardiff University under Prof. John Punter’s tutelage. He also holds a Master’s in Architectural Conservation (Distinction).  Steven is currently the Vice-President of The Hong Kong Institute of Architectural Conservationists, Registrar of the Planners Registration Board in Hong Kong, and has been working for the Royal Town Planning Institute on a paid basis since 2013.

Ian Ralph is a qualified Urban Designer and Planner, graduating from Cardiff University, where he focused on links between health and urban design, and specifically the effectiveness of low/zero energy-driven projects. Ian has over 9 years of experience in the field of master planning and urban design and has been a chartered member of the RTPI since 2012. He has worked in the UK on urban regeneration, transport, heritage and sustainable urban extension projects. He has also held leading roles in developing community engagement methods for masterplans and supported policy and guidance development for organisations such as Living Streets and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence. Since moving to Hong Kong in 2013 he has taken up keys roles on large scale mixed-use, Transit-Oriented Development, new towns and resort community projects, as well as supporting city-branding and placemaking initiatives. He heads the masterplanning team at Lead8, a multi-disciplinary design studio, with a broadening range of work, from airport cities to pedestrian and activity-oriented development, as well as urban design guidelines and temporary/interim development strategies.

Karen Lee has a BSc City and Regional Planning and a MSc Regeneration degree from Cardiff University and a MPA from the University of Hong Kong. Karen is a chartered Town Planner and Project Manager with extensive experience in urban integration, development impact mitigation and public policy. Before pursuing a career in community planning in Hong Kong, she was the Technical Manager of the £14.8bn Elizabeth Line project for Westminster City Council where she led complex value engineering negotiations with the Nominated Undertakers, Transport for London and developers to promote and enhance urban integration in central London. She was the Senior Project Manager leading the design and delivery of the Walk DVRC initiative to transform Des Voeux Road Central into a dynamic public realm worthy of Hong Kong’s image and status as a world city and to enhance the walkability of our Central Business District. She has recently joined the Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation to initiate trans-sectoral, multi-disciplinary community planning and design projects through participatory social innovation to tackle thorny social problems and unmet social needs in Hong Kong.

DISCUSSION 18:00-18:30

Chair: Associate Professor Alain Chiaradia, Programme Director, Master of Urban Design, HKU, DUPAD.


John Punter is a geographer, planner, urban designer who taught at the universities of York (Toronto), Reading and Strathclyde before becoming Professor of Urban Design at Cardiff University in 1996. He has written the definitive text on the Design Dimension of Planning (1996), Design Control in Bristol (1989), Design Control in West Coast Cities of the USA 1999, The Vancouver Achievement (2003), and Design Control in the City of Sydney (2004). He was contributing editor to The British Urban Renaissance (2006) and The Regeneration of Cardiff (2008). He was a founder Commissioner of the Design Commission for Wales (2005-15) and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the UK Urban Design Group in 2014.

Chris Law is a founding director of the Oval Partnership Ltd, working from offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Cape Town and London. The Sanlitun Taikoo-Li project in Beijing received the Urban Design Award from the Hong Kong Institute of Architects. The Star Street Revitalization Project in Hong Kong received the Grand Award by the Hong Kong Institute of Urban Design. The Sino-Ocean Taikoo-Li project in Chengdu received the Global Award of Excellence from the Urban Land Institute. Chris Law is a member of the Antiquities Advisory Board, the Development Committee of the West Kowloon Cultural District, and the Hong Kong Science Park Task Force on the HK/Shenzhen Joint Science Park Development.  He is Chairman of the UNESCO prize winning Viva Blue House Project and Chairman of the Community Development Committee of the St James’ Settlement. Chris Law is a co- founder of the public space non-profits organization Very Hong Kong, currently undertaking an extensive policy research and public engagement on enabling NGOs to initiate and operate city improvement projects, making use of vacant and under-utilized government sites and buildings in the city.

K.K. Ling, SBS is Honorary Professor, Department of Urban Planning and Design, HKU. Prof. Ling is a professional town planner and was the first-batch graduate of HKU’s Master of Science (Urban Planning) programme.  He was appointed as Honorary Professor of the Department of Urban Planning and Design after retired from the post of Director of Planning of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).  He was awarded the Silver Bauhinia Star in 2017 by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR.  Prof. Ling is Fellow of the Hong Kong Institute of Planners (FHKIP), Member of the Hong Kong Institute of Urban Design, Registered Professional Planner (RPP) and also possesses the People’s Republic of China Registered Urban Planner Qualification.  He was the President of HKIP from 2007 to 2009.  He is now the Director of Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation and Professor of Practice (Planning) of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.  He is also Adjunct Professor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.