Everything is in decline, but we never give up
Many well-established systems and procedures that have shaped our urban landscape and the way of life have undergone significant changes in 2022. Controversial projects such as the Lantau Tomorrow Vision, land sharing schemes, and relaxation of threshold for compulsory land sales on the horizon, but we have always been here to produce solid research, facilitate new dynamics, and keep the community well informed about the issues in various ways:
– Research reports x 2
– Articles published x 139
– Media appearance x 305 times
– Video project x 18 episodes
– New book publication x 1
– Lectures and sharing x 23 times
– Student interns recruited x 11
– Volunteers recruited x 83
– Group cooperation and link x 25 times
– Incubation program x 70 applicants
In addition to our well-known podcast programme 閒置中 (in Cantonese), we have explored new areas of research and produced a weekly investigative video series, “行落去”, which combines our written, audio and graphic research. In the 18 episodes of the first season, we visited 18 locations in Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories in sunshine and rain. Our video series visualizes social issues in an ever-changing media terrain to encourage more discussion on social issues.
Despite all the social distancing measures, civic research knows no distance. With civic groups now more eager to strengthen their networks, we actively engaged with groups from all walks of life. We held community forums on the redevelopment of Kowloon City. After the forced relocation of Mil Mill, we organized a summit for local recyclers on local recycling policy. We took part in and organized 23 talks, lectures or exchange sessions (or twice a month) in 2022. We engaged different social groups through videos and podcasts to make the voice of civil society heard.
▍Pass it on
We are delighted to have recruited 11 interns and 83 volunteers this year. The participation rate remained high, as our interns and volunteers were highly motivated to produce research outputs. Our interns and volunteers have taken active roles in areas ranging from research topic generation, data collection, to the production of podcasts and study reports. We attracted new talent for civic research, as our “Researcher Incubation Programme 2023” received 10 times more applications than expected.
In 2022, we made 305 media appearances and produced 139 in-depth research articles, helping to shape public opinion on social issues. In addition to brownfield sites, green belts, urban planning, artificial islands, minimum living space and the redevelopment of Kowloon City and Yau Tsim Mong, we also covered emerging issues such as housing for the elderly, market space policy, new rural piers, forced relocation of MilMill and the resettlement of rural industries. Our articles track the latest social developments, integrate public opinion through research, and monitor, consolidate and advocate policies for the common good.
We had seven full-time and two part-time researchers and one administrative accountant with a total salary expense of $2.04 million in 2022. We recruited a video consultant and three special design consultants who supported our research team to achieve the aims for civil society research and deliver high-quality research results. Our colleagues have been keeping up with the latest changes in social issues, and planning impactful research reports.
In 2022, we launched a low-cost video project and organized community events such as community summits, field trips to remote rural areas, and in-depth book clubs. In contrast, Our Hong Kong Foundation (團結香港基金) spent $100 million on salaries in 2021 alone, a sum nearly 50 times our salary expenditures in 2022. The vast difference perhaps illustrates the great value of independent research without the financial support of governments and developers.
In 2022, people were more likely to have parted ways with loved ones than to have met new friends at the airport. Social vigor may have waned in 2022, but change and decline are now happening faster than expected. As a community group, we have been enriching the discussion on dozens of social issues with our solid and critical research, in the hope of broadening the public policy discussion.
Data update date: February 28, 2023