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Sustainable Lai Chi Wo: Living Water & Community Revitalization - An Agricultural-led Action, Engagement and Incubation Programme at Lai Chi Wo (2013-2017)

As an effort to combat the rapid loss of village culture, rural environment and communities amid urbanisation in Asia, Policy for Sustainability Lab (PSL) of Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong launched the multi-year Sustainable Lai Chi Wo Programme in 2013. The Programme was an action project which sought to replenish and revitalise the disappearing social and natural capital of the desolate, remote traditional farming landscape at Lai Chi Wo in Hong Kong, with a view to develop a sustainable model for rural revitalisation for Hong Kong, Greater China and beyond.

Adopting a collaborative model, PSL partnered with three NGOs (Hong Kong Countryside FoundationProduce Green Foundation and The Conservancy Association), five government agencies, one business corporation (The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited), and a large number of local villagers to work on an array of activities, ranging from agricultural rehabilitation and community revitalisation, to cultural reinvention, rural education, and biodiversity research (led by Professor David DUDGEON and Dr. Billy HAU, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong) and hydrology-related research (led by Dr. Ji CHEN, Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong as well as Dr. Mervyn PEART and Dr. NG Cho Nam, Department of Geography, The University of Hong Kong).

 

Objectives

  • To initiate a whole catchment management approach for biodiversity conservation
  • To revitalise agricultural activities by adopting innovative farming methods
  • To re-discover the community resources and facilitate appropriate use
  • To develop the village as an environmental and sustainable development education hub
  • To develop diverse local products and services, thereby creating job opportunities and financial returns to sustain the local economy

 

Progress and Accomplishments

The Programme has brought about major changes and impacts for Lai Chi Wo village and the larger Hong Kong community. Over the past four years, the Programme has engaged more than 15,000 individuals and stakeholders, who came from all walks of life from both the rural and urban areas. More than five hectares of farmlands, which had been abandoned for over 30 years, were rehabilitated. From its previously deserted state, the village is now occupied by 20 active members, who are living and working there on a regular basis. With the restoration of eco-farming and paddy farming, the biodiversity and wetland functions of the village have been enhanced.

 

Programme Documentation