Markus Shaw's NGO challenges designers to reimagine Hong Kong's CBD

Whether you drive, bike, walk or minibus, we've all at some point wished that Hong Kong had less pollution. What would the city look like with fewer vehicles? How would that impact air quality or improve liveability?

These are questions Walk DVRC is asking itself and the citizens of our vibrant metropolis. Chaired by Tatler 500 lister Markus Shaw, the local NGO (named after "Des Voeux Road Central") aims to promote an urban planning model that gives pedestrians and trams priority over other vehicular traffic, and their first focus is that key stretch of road from Pedder Street down to Western Market.

Walk DVRC design competition

For those of us with inspiring ideas for reimagining Hong Kong's beloved Des Voeux Road Central, Walk DVRC wants to hear from them. Design professionals are invited to submit their ideas to a jury that will select the best submissions for an initial shortlist of teams of 25.

Five finalists will be selected to fly to Hong Kong for a site visit and meet with members of Walk DVRC’s Steering Committee, HK’s Planning Department, Hong Kong University’s Department of Architecture, Curators of M+ Museum as well as individuals who represent the Urban Renewal Authority, Clean Air Network, Hong Kong Public Space Initiative, Urban Land Institute, town planners, traffic consultants and District Councilors.

They will each be awarded US$20,000 to help with the production of their entries, after which one overall competition winner will be awarded US$30,000 to build a model of their design. S/he will also be given the opportunity to speak at the Business of Design Week (BoDW), Asia's leading event on design, innovation and brands, in December. 

The competition was conceived from a 17-year-old proposal to redevelop the 1.4km section of DVRC, where over HK$7 million has been spent on studies showing the feasibility of making the area more walkable for pedestrians. From Paris to Los Angeles to Seoul, iconic cities around Europe, the US and Asia are actively working to reduce the number of cars on their roads.


Now, Hong Kong is following suit by examining its own abundance of walkable urban environments and how these areas, in turn, contribute to social vibrancy. Those interested in landscape, architecture, urban design and planning are encouraged to share their thinking and approaches to this inventive challenge.

Given DVRC is not only one of Hong Kong’s most historic thoroughfares, but is also an essential artery in the city's landscape, engaging in such an important initiative puts entrants at the centre of an international competition that will have significant historical implications.

Entries for the Walk DVRC competition are being accepted until June 1, 2018. To learn more about the initiative, visit or visit their Facebook page.