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Rural Infrastructure Design – Drainage Improvement Works in Ta Kwu Lingㅤ

what we do
Forge Unusual Connections / Engage Citizens

River Design Lab @ Ta Kwu Ling Phase 1

Project Partner: Drainage Services Department

Duration: September 2019 – July 2020



A low-lying semi-rural area in the North District, Ta Kwu Ling is often one of the hardest-hit areas by flooding especially during the rain season. In particularly, serious typhoons in recent years have caused a serious loss of lives and properties. Despite previous efforts in enhancing the level of flood prevention, there remains a pressing need to raise the area’s drainage capacity, especially in underground drains and rivers.

In view of this challenge, the Drainage Services Department (DSD) has proposed improvement works along two major tributaries of Ping Yuen River and inside selected villages. Covering a vast area that involves more than five villages, agricultural lots, and key community facilities, the plans present an opportunity to explore how the design of the improvement scheme could address some of the local community’s unfulfilled needs.


Our Approach

The concerned tributaries of Ping Yuen River have been flowing across Ta Kwu Ling since the beginning of history. Yet, many members of the local community are unaware of them due to a lack of interaction and difficulty in going near the water.  As the Works’ Design Thinking and public engagement partner, our primary goal is to understand the community’s pain points and wishes around flooding as well as the prospect of their neighbourhood—but above it all, we hoped to rediscover these native water streams together with the community.

In the earlier stages of the project, we employed various methods to understand the community’s pain points around flooding. Throughout the outreach process, we also discovered their other needs and wishes for their community. Having identified the works’ opportunity in addressing some of those needs, we brought together different community members to co-create the design of improvement scheme, especially that concerning the space newly created by the works along both sides of the river. Another focus of the engagement process was to create room for interaction amidst the complex demographics in the area.  Where interaction across villages is limited to festive occasions, we curated and designed workshops, information sessions, and site visits, to create room for community members to get together. At the same time, we also strived to bridge the gap between local residents and public officials using the platforms we created. The overall objective of our work is to tap into the opportunities arisen from the proposed works to contribute to a better Ta Kwu Ling.


Our Impact 

  • Created fresh opportunities for members of the community to interact and exchange views on the development of Ta Kwu Ling
  • Facilitated the community’s renewed understanding and appreciation of the natural resources in their neighbourhood
  • Paved way for a phase 2 of the project, which focuses on fostering co-creation on the design of concerned river tributaries and community spaces for a more pleasant environment in Ta Kwu Ling since 2020 August