Environment and Health：The New Norm for Town Planning
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In 2020, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is rampant across the globe. To prevent the epidemic from spreading, rezoning or addition works have been carried out in a lot of spaces in the city, so as to implement social distancing. Professor Joseph SUNG, who combated SARS in 2003, describes that the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic has brought permanent changes to people’s living habits and a “new norm” will emerge. And city designs have to find ways to adapt and cope as a result.
Back then, when SARS was over, the Government reviewed its policies on town planning and architectural designs, and formulated relevant building standards and guidelines with regard to air ventilation. Also, planning standards were added into the Urban Design Guidelines, requiring future developments to take into consideration the impacts of the designs and layouts of buildings on the peripheral environment, scenery and air ventilation. Edward NG, Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and his team were commissioned by the Planning Department to continue studying topics related to city ventilation. Meanwhile, they learnt from Germany’s experience and finished devising the Urban Climate Map of Hong Kong, and thus Hong Kong was the first Asian city that successfully drew up a climate map.
The World Health Organization pointed out that rapid urbanization, crowded living environment, aging population and climate change were all challenges to a healthy city life. Among them, climate change gives rise to the growth in number of extreme weather incidents around the world; glacial meltdown leads to the global sea level rise, and thus the risk of being affected by water crises faced by coastal cities increases. Experts in areas such as town planning, architecture, drainage and water services give full play to their abilities to devote themselves to fight against the risk of climate change.