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Community Space Design – Shek Wu Hui Effluent Polishing Plant and Peripheral Area

what we do
Engage Citizens

Community Space and District-based Educational Programme Design at Shek Wu Hui Effluent Polishing Plant and Peripheral Area

Project Partner: Drainage Services Department

Duration: December 2017 – January 2019



The existing Shek Wu Hui Sewage Treatment Works (SWHSTW) has remained in operations for over 30 years to date. To accommodate a prospective rise in sewage flow arising from future development in the North District, there is a need for an upgrade and expansion of the facility to improve capacity.

As proposed by the Drainage Services Department (DSD), the facility, to be renamed as the Shek Wu Hui Effluent Polishing Plant (SWHEPP), will also bring about additional public space and amenities that are meant to integrate the treatment plant into the surrounding environment. How do we make use of this opportunity to turn the public infrastructure into a platform that brings the community together? This project was initiated to explore the possibilities in rekindling the connection between the facility, nearby residents, and the spectacular natural landscapes in the area.


Our Approach

With Design Thinking as the basis of our strategy, we launched a series of engagement activities including in-depth interviews and street booths to learn about local residents’ way of life as well as emotions and concerns surrounding the proposed expansion. Such insights then became the foundation of our creative process of generating ideas for the public space in SWHEPP, which involved also educators, green groups, and other professionals.

The co-creation journey eventually gave birth to a community-centric public space and a district-based education programme, in which the different stakeholders came together to develop two educational routes featuring distinct themes of “Sustainable Living in Sheng Shui” and “Impact of Water in Local History”. As part of the effort to reinforce a community identity through this project, the consolidated ideas were turned into prototypes in the form of 3D models and trial tours, and then presented at a public event series to promote the idea of civic participation in the design of public facilities.


Impact to Date

  • Curated the transformation of a utility plant to a more community-oriented facility with the active participation of local residents and professionals
  • Breathed life into the Sheung Shui Heung and Fu Tei Au neighbourhoods by rekindling the connection between the effluent polishing plant and the community
  • Set an example of adopting a co-creation model in the design and formulation of public services and infrastructure