The countryside is more than hinterland of a city. Other than provision of food and raw materials for the functioning of cities, it also equips a city with the necessary resilience in view of unpredictable crises may put its inhabitants at risk. Nowadays, we are well aware of the roles of the countryside on biodiversity and mitigation of global warming, yet its importance is always underestimated.
To curb the spreading of Covid-19 in the past three years, stringent social distancing measures are adopted in Hong Kong as well as many other overseas countries. Normal social, commercial, school and recreational gatherings were either prohibited or restricted, which seriously affected the physical and mental health of people. However, Hong Kongers were lucky to have found our countryside as haven such as country parks, where we could continue our social and recreational activities with much lower risks of infection. As the global population exceeds 8 billion without any sign of slowing down, such pandemic will likely keep recurring in the future. Resilience is needed to protect people at the outset of a pandemic, at least before effective vaccine and medical treatment are available.
The countryside is also a reserve of cultural heritage and memoir of human civilisation. Due to rapid urban development of Hong Kong in the past century, many old buildings and traditions were lost before their heritage values had been fully studied and documented. Opportunely a lot of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage are still preserved in the countryside of Hong Kong. In light of the need to resolve the land supply problems, urbanisation of some of Hong Kong’s countryside is unavoidable. It is important that we preserve sensitively our cultural heritage, especially those intangible traditions that might disappear completely with the passing of generations. I am extremely excited to see so many HKIA members work very hard towards these missions, in both local and overseas projects as discussed in many articles in this issue of the HKIA Journal.
I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to the marvellous achievements of the editorial team, the Publication Committee and writers of the articles for their thorough investigation, in-depth analysis and systematical reporting in the Journal.
FHKIA, Registered Architect, APEC Architect