The opening ceremony of the exhibition “City Smart Development in Europe: Vienna” was officially held on 3 November 2016 at City Gallery. Organised by the European Union Academic Programme (EUAP) and co-organised with the Austrian Consulate General and City Gallery, the exhibition presented a vision of smart development, strategic planning and liveability of the city of Vienna. The opening also marked the launch of the 3rd edition of “Urban Innovations” – a series of events focused on exchange of expertise and dialogue between Hong Kong and European cities.
Officiating guests included Mrs. Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR Government; Mrs. Maria Vassilakou, Deputy Mayor and Vice-Governor of Vienna, Executive City Councillor for Urban Planning, Traffic & Transport, Climate Protection, Energy and Public Participation; and Prof. Rick Wong, Vice-President (Research and Development) of HKBU. The guests of honour were Mr. Paul Chan Mo-po, Secretary for Development of the HKSAR Government; Dr. Claudia Reinprecht, Consul General of Austria to Hong Kong and Macao; Ms. Carmen Cano Head of EU Office to Hong Kong; Mr. K.K. Ling, Director of Planning, Planning Department of the HKSAR Government; Prof. Adrian J. Bailey, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences; and Prof. Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Director-General of EUAP. The ceremony saw attendance of over 150 participants from the HKSAR Government, diplomatic bodies, business community, civil society and academia.
In the opening remarks, Prof. Hans Werner Hess, Deputy Director of EUAP, said that “Urban Innovations aims to bring information about Europe to Hong Kong and also offer a platform for discussion among different urban communities”. He explained that this year’s focus on Vienna was dictated by the city’s outstanding performance in providing high quality of life based on long term sustainability oriented urban planning.
Mrs. Carrie Lam welcomed the opportunity to share experiences with experts from Vienna and expressed the HKSAR Government commitment to smart development of Hong Kong, as well as determination to make the city liveable, competitive and sustainable. She said that a city’s liveability “is not just about the physical environment, but all elements that contribute to the quality of life and well-being of its people.”
Mrs. Maria Vassilakou mentioned that Vienna makes its key priority to develop innovative solutions, ensure social inclusion, and preserve natural resources. She stressed that what distinguishes Vienna’s approach from other cities was that, apart from focus on technology and environmental targets, its utmost goal was to engage all its inhabitants and guarantee that nobody’s needs were neglected.
Prof. Rick Wong said that “Urban Innovations” series contributed to bringing in international experience and could help to initiate future improvements to the life of society in Hong Kong and Europe. He expressed hope for stronger international cooperation between the two, especially between young people and students who will soon shape development processes in their cities.
The official opening was followed by the talk “Hong Kong – Vienna Dialogue: Public Space”, in which Mrs. Maria Vassilakou and Mr. Paul Chan Mo-po presented and discussed their respective perspectives on future development and qualities of public spaces in Vienna and Hong Kong.
The exhibition “City Smart Development in Europe: Vienna” showcased main themes and projects of the Smart City Wien Framework Strategy 2014-2050, with a focus on issues comparable to the Hong Kong situation in six thematic dimensions: smart economy, smart mobility, smart environment, smart people, smart living and smart government. It will be hosted by City Gallery until 31 January 2017 and, alongside, roundtable discussions and seminars will be held with experts and experienced practitioners from Vienna and Hong Kong.
The exhibition is part of “Urban Innovations” series which presents European current thinking on issues of urban development, solutions for urban problems and pan-European cooperation in these fields. This year’s series is the continuation of a series of public events about Vienna which begun in fall 2014, when the Smart City Wien concept was first introduced to the Hong Kong audience. The focus then was on social housing and aspects of social fairness in modernizing the city. This year, the focus is shifted to the vision of the City in the future, the long term strategy and its implementation with “Smart” thematic dimensions and direction towards sustainable development